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January 25, 2015

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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

November 4, 2014

Republicans Sweep the Senate (Updated)

Republicans Sweep the Senate (Updated)

McConnell won re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Updated Nov. 5, 7:23 a.m. | Republicans swept the Senate races Tuesday night, and come January, they will control the chamber for the first time in eight years.

Democratic incumbents fell right and left, even in seats that they had originally been favored to win. President Barack Obama’s poor approval rating — 42 percent in the last nationwide Gallup poll — dragged down candidates across the country in the face of a Republican wave.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who cruised to victory in his own re-election, is set to become the next majority leader, with a gain of at least seven seats — one more than the GOP needed.

As results were still pouring in, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran credited the GOP’s recruiting, encouraging and training its candidates.

“They are why we have the ability to deliver a majority, this evening, of Republicans to the United States Senate,” the Kansas Republican said. Full story

Is This a House Race, or Just a Rumor?

Is This a House Race, or Just a Rumor?

House Democrats recently spent $100,000 on radio ads for Capps. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In what is already a strange cycle, operatives on both sides are bracing for surprises on election night.

Rumors flew last week about a surprise poll or errant television reservation that could spell doom for an incumbent considered a safe bet for re-election a week ago.

Some of these suggestions were just that — rumor. But many operatives are convinced Tuesday night will feature at least one upset.

Here are the under-the-radar races keeping strategists excited and worried Tuesday night:

Full story

McConnell Warns Senate Control Could Be Unclear Until January

McConnell Warns Senate Control Could Be Unclear Until January

McConnell, right, is the Senate Minority Leader. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

BOWLING GREEN, Ky., — At the end of a full day of flying around the Bluegrass State, Sen. Mitch McConnell presented the state of play on the national landscape like a prognosticator instead of a pol who holds the title of Senate minority leader.

McConnell Warns Senate Control Could Be Unclear Until January“We think we have a good chance to take the Senate,” McConnell said of the Republicans’ prospects. “The suspense won’t last much longer. Hopefully we’ll find out tomorrow night instead of December or January, but there could be additional races beyond tomorrow night.”

“There could be another election in Louisiana, and their could be another election in Georgia,” he said.

In Georgia, a runoff between Republican David Perdue and and Democrat Michelle Nunn would run past the scheduled opening of the new Congress, which could make organizing the chamber nearly impossible if the result could determine which party is in charge.

“I think it’s uncharted territory. Hopefully it will be decided tomorrow night, and we won’t have to worry about it,” McConnell said. Full story

6 Harbinger House Races for Election Night

6 Harbinger House Races for Election Night

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel will have a bad night if his party loses these races. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats are bracing for losses on Election Day, but just how bad of a night will it be?

A few races will serve as cues throughout the evening, as polls close across the country. They will be harbingers for House Republicans, who are looking at gains anywhere from six to a dozen seats.

Here are the bellwether House races to watch as results come in, in order of poll closing times:
Full story

Why Senate Control May Not Be Known by Wednesday

Why Senate Control May Not Be Known by Wednesday

Landrieu rallies supporters Nov. 2 in Shreveport, La. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There are enough Democratic seats in play for Republicans to secure the Senate majority Tuesday, but there is also a chance the outcome won’t be known for days, weeks or even a couple months.

Needing to net six seats to win back control for the first time since George W. Bush’s second midterm in 2006, Republicans have taken advantage of a Democratic president in a similarly weak political position and have carved a path through 10 states. That means Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may be celebrating more than his own re-election in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday night.

Still, with runoffs likely in two competitive states, potentially razor-thin margins in a few races and vote-counting complications in Alaska, there are several hurdles to one party having clear control of the Senate by the time the sun rises Wednesday on the East Coast. Full story

Election Day Rituals: Movies, Meals and Mass

Election Day Rituals: Movies, Meals and Mass

DCCC operatives posted winning campaign signs on DNC windows for good luck (Twitter photo from @JesseFFerguson)

At party headquarters on Ivy Street in March, a few Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee staffers gathered for a good-luck ritual: They posted signs from past special-election victors on windows — and destroyed the losers’ election mailers.

The occasion? The high-stakes special election to replace the late Rep. C.W. Bill Young — though Lady Luck would quickly turn on these staffers. Republicans came from behind to win the appropriately numbered 13th District in Florida.

It’s just one of many superstitious habits saved for an Election Day — and on Tuesday, politicians, operatives and consultants conduct rituals to calm their nerves until polls close and results are released.

Full story

November 3, 2014

30 Members, 1 Senator Running Unopposed

30 Members, 1 Senator Running Unopposed

Sewell is running unopposed. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There are 31 members of Congress who will be back in January no matter what. That’s 16 Democrats and 15 Republicans — with Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions being the only senator without an opponent Tuesday.

These lawmakers still bring in cash, with Sessions spending nearly $1 million and Democratic Rep. Terri A. Sewell of Alabama raising more than $1.4 million.

Georgia has the most members running unopposed, with six congressional districts in the ultra-safe category. Massachusetts also has six — all Democrats. Florida has five.

Here are the incumbents running unopposed, listed alphabetically by state:

Full story

November 2, 2014

Roll Call Event With Top Senate Campaign Aides Thursday

Roll Call Event With Top Senate Campaign Aides Thursday

Collins is the executive director of the NRSC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

The cycle’s top campaign operatives will delve inside the races that decided the Senate majority in a special post-election briefing at CQ Roll Call’s Election Impact Conference.

Guy Cecil, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Rob Collins, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, will discuss the top Senate contests of 2014 — their first joint appearance after Election Day.

The duo will be interviewed by Roll Call’s Editor-in-Chief, Christina Bellantoni, at the Liaison Hotel on Capitol Hill. It’s part of our larger look into what the election’s results signal for the 114th Congress (Register here!).

I’ll moderate a discussion later that morning a panel of reporters and pollsters who will take a deep dive into the election results, including Nathan L. Gonzales, deputy editor, Rothenberg Political Report and Roll Call Contributor; Perry Bacon, NBC News Senior Political Reporter; Mark Blumenthal, Huffington Post Senior Polling Editor; and Abby Livingston of our Roll Call Politics team.

The Election Impact Conference also features: Full story

November 1, 2014

Final Rankings: The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators

Final Rankings: The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators

Pryor, right, canvasses Saturday with an aide in the Little Rock, Arkansas, suburbs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Roll Call’s final ranking of the most vulnerable senators doesn’t vary much from previous versions — the result of an unfavorable national climate for Democrats that has failed to improve.

On the eve of the midterm elections, Senate Democrats are staring down a hole dug by President Barack Obama’s disapproval ratings and an unforgiving map packed with red states. Retirements by a quartet of senators in Republican-leaning or swing states didn’t help, but the seats of at least four incumbents seeking re-election aren’t on much stronger ground.

It’s the reality of what could end up being a dreadful cycle for Democrats. Still, party strategists remain cautiously optimistic they can hold on to a few endangered seats, possibly even pick up a GOP open seat in Georgia and save the majority. Republicans need a net gain of six seats. Full story

October 29, 2014

Ted Cruz Endorses ‘Duck Dynasty’ Kin Over Vance McAllister

Ted Cruz Endorses Duck Dynasty Kin Over Vance McAllister

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has endorsed fellow Republican Zach Dasher, who is challenging embattled Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La.

In a 55-second video posted Wednesday on YouTube, Cruz voices his support for Dasher, urging Louisianans to vote for the Republican next week. Dasher, a businessman, is related to the Robertson family, who star in A&E’s popular reality show, “Duck Dynasty.”

“Zach Dasher is a conservative with a backbone to stand up to career politicians in both parties to help lead the fight to repeal Obamacare, to stop amnesty, defend our conservative values and turn our country around,” Cruz says.

A number of Republicans jumped into the 5th District race after McAllister, who is married, was caught on camera kissing a married staffer earlier this year and announced he would not seek re-election. Two months later, McAllister, who had won a special election in November, decided to run for a full term despite the scandal. Full story

October 28, 2014

6 House Debate Moments That Reminded Us of High School (Video)

6 House Debate Moments That Reminded Us of High School (Video)

Foust is running for Congress in Virginia. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rowdy auditoriums, petty exchanges, testy comebacks. Sounds like high school, right?

Try House candidate debates in 2014.

CQ Roll Call collected six of the most awkward and juvenile moments of the cycle from the hundreds of debates that took place across the country.

Like most debates, none of these moments will have much of an impact on the final outcome of the race. But as a season of these awkward meet-ups conclude, these exchanges are worth watching — at least for their entertainment value.

Here are the six debate moments that reminded us of high school:

Full story

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