Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 6, 2016

Posts in "Republicans"

January 14, 2016

Before Swiping at Trump, Nikki Haley Took His Cash

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Haley criticized Trump but had previously received cash from him. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley made headlines for her not-so-subtle swipes at Donald Trump in her Republican response to the State of the Union. But in the past, Haley was a recipient of the billionaire’s cash.

In her response, Haley said, “some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference. That is just not true.” Haley added often the best thing “is turn down the volume.”

Full story

January 13, 2016

Obama Tries to Build Bipartisan Redistricting Momentum

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 12 - President Barack Obama speaks during his final State of the Union to a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Obama called for bipartisan groups to take over redistricting during his final State of the Union. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Calling for a systematic change to American politics in Tuesday’s State of the Union, President Barack Obama gave a somewhat surprising shout-out to bipartisan redistricting reform.

“I think we’ve got to end the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters and not the other way around,” he said, before going off script to add, “Let a bipartisan group do it.”

Advocates of redistricting reform were pleased to hear the president validate their issue, but they cautioned that sweeping change at the national level isn’t likely anytime soon. Full story

January 12, 2016

Senate Conservatives Fund Makes First House Endorsements of 2016

Ellmers denied "completely false allegations" against her Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

SCF has backed one of Ellmers’ primary challengers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate Conservatives Fund endorsed its first three House candidates of the cycle on Tuesday.

The SCF has traditionally backed conservative Senate candidates, but in 2013 the organization started playing in House races with its “House Conservatives Project.”

“These candidates are all principled conservative leaders who have strong grassroots support. We need them in the U.S. House to reinforce the efforts of our conservative allies,” SCF President Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement. “They will stand up to the big spenders in both parties and work to defend the principles of freedom that make our nation great. We are proud to support Jim Banks, Mary Thomas, and Jim Duncan,” he said.

  • Indiana’s 3rd District: State Sen. Jim Banks is running in a crowded GOP primary for the seat Rep. Marlin Stutzman is vacating to run for the Senate. Banks also has the backing of the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and Tea Party Express.
  • Florida’s 2nd District: Mary Thomas, currently general counsel at the Department of Elder Affairs in Gov. Rick Scott’s administration, is trying to unseat Democratic Rep. Gwen Graham, who faces a daunting re-election due to redistricting.
  • North Carolina’s 2nd District: Jim Duncan, who chairs North Carolina’s Chatham County Republican Party, is running in the Republican primary to unseat three-term Rep. Renee Ellmers. The Club for Growth endorsed Duncan in December.

At the Senate level, SCF has backed Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis, running for the Senate seat currently held by Marco Rubio, and Stutzman.

Contact Pathé at and follow her on Twitter at @sfpathe.

Roll Call Race Ratings Map: Ratings for Every House and Senate Race in 2016

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January 11, 2016

Republican Jon Keyser Enters Colorado Senate Race

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., is chairman of the DSCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Keyser wants to make his campaign against Bennet about national security. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Another, albeit expected, Republican  has announced that he’s joining the crowded GOP field to take on Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado.

State Rep. Jon Keyser, a major in the Air Force Reserves who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, announced his candidacy Monday, casting 2016 as a national security election in which his military experience would given him an advantage.

Full story

January 8, 2016

Before Donald Trump, There Was Maine’s Paul LePage

LePage, shown here in 2013, is again garnering national media attention.  (John Ewing/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

LePage, shown here in 2013, is again garnering national media attention. (John Ewing/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

It’s not unusual for Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s comments to make national news.

The two-term Maine Republican has a penchant for speaking off the cuff in a similar tell-it-like-it-is manner as the presidential candidate whom he’s endorsed, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

But his most recent comments sound a lot more like current GOP front-runner Donald Trump, earning LePage — who as recently as Thursday said he was thinking “very seriously” about running for Senate in 2018 — more national attention. Full story

January 7, 2016

Judges Select New Virginia Congressional Map

Democrats are hoping that a redrawn 4th District will allow them to take on Forbes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Virginia’s new map would make Forbes’ district more Democratic. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A federal three-judge panel selected a new congressional map for the 2016 elections Thursday.

The map is one of two proposed maps that a court-appointed special master — in this case a political science professor at University of California, Irvine — released in November 2015 that would give Democrats a shot at picking up another seat. Currently, Democrats hold three of the state’s 11 congressional seats. Full story

Lynn Westmoreland Won’t Seek Re-election

Westmoreland expects several of his House GOP colleague to run for Senate in Georgia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Westmoreland won’t seek re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Six-term Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland announced Thursday that he will retire from Congress at the end of this term.

“After a busy fall in Congress, I finally had the opportunity for quiet reflection over the Christmas break. I spent time in prayer and with my family, and with their blessing, have decided I will no longer seek re-election for Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District,” the Republican said in a statement.

Full story

Democrats Content to Let GOP Hash Out Cruz Birther Issue

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 18: Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during his rally at the Life Church in Mechanicsville, Va., on Friday, Dec. 18, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As Republicans continue to discuss the question of Sen. Ted Cruz’s eligibility to be president, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi seemed content to let them hash it out themselves.

“So you want to talk about politics, here under the Dome?” the California Democrat responded to a question about the GOP presidential nominating contest at her Thursday news conference. “This is inside baseball,” she said, given the opportunity to weigh in on emergence of the “birther” issue. Full story

By Jason Dick Posted at 12:18 p.m.
Democrats, Republicans

Down-Ballot Democrats Tread Carefully on Guantanamo Closure (Updated)

Ayotte is a New Hampshire Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ayotte has questioned Hassan’s position on closing Guantanamo. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:59 p.m. | President Barack Obama has vowed to fulfill his 2008 campaign promise to close Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, military prison, with two detainees having already been transferred abroad this week.

But Democrats running for Congress in a year when national security has ascended to the forefront of voters’ minds are making campaign promises of their own that don’t necessarily align with helping the president fulfill his 8-year-old pledge. Full story

January 6, 2016

Club for Growth Makes Shimkus Second GOP Target

Shimkus is only the second sitting Republican to earn the opposition of the Club for Growth this cycle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Shimkus is only the second sitting Republican to earn the opposition of the Club for Growth this cycle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Illinois Rep. John Shimkus became the Club for Growth’s second Republican incumbent target on Wednesday when it endorsed state Sen. Kyle McCarter in the 15th District race.

“While Kyle McCarter would bring a fresh breath of fiscal conservatism to Washington, his opponent, John Shimkus, is the epitome of what’s wrong with Congress,” said Club for Growth President David McIntosh in a statement.

Full story

January 4, 2016

Top Races to Watch in 2016

WILTON, NH - JANUARY 09: A voter leaves Town Hall on January 10, 2012 in Wilton, New Hampshire. Voters in the Granite State are heading to the poll in the nation's first primary election to pick their choice for the U.S. presidential candidates.   (Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

A voter leaves Town Hall in Wilton, N.H. on primary day in 2012. (MatthewCavanaugh/Getty Images File Photo)

Technically, there are 469 races for the House and Senate this year, but we’ve boiled down that list to a trio of races to watch in each of eight regions across the country.

From vulnerable incumbents to competitive open seats to intra-party squabbles, the batch of races has a little of everything and can be a useful guide to track the trajectory of the election cycle in the months ahead.

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January 1, 2016

More Shameless End of Quarter Fundraising Pleas

Speaking to Hugh Hewitt on Monday, Cruz argued most felons are Democrats. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cruz has sent at least two emails to supporters ahead of the FEC deadline. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the year coming to a close, candidates for office have their eyes on a Federal Election Commission deadline at the end of the financial quarter and are pulling out all of the stops to get supporters to give them money. Here are some of the most blatant, blunt and just plain bizarre asks Roll Call has found on the trail.

Rand and Jeb call in Daddy

Sen. Rand Paul and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush may have disagreements on foreign policy, but both are relying on their famous politician dads to help them raise money. On Monday, Paul released an audio message from his father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 and 2012.

“I want to make sure Rand has a strong showing,” Paul says in the message. “So please dig deep today and throughout the end-of-the-year moneybomb to help Rand fully fund these grassroots operations.”
Bush’s campaign emailed a message from his father, former President George H.W. Bush, encouraging supporters to donate.
“This is the final public deadline before voting begins in states like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada,” the former president says in the email. “That’s why a group of generous supporters are matching every donation that comes by midnight on Thursday.”
Using the Koch Brothers
There are few bigger boogeymen for the left than conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch. As a result, Democratic candidates are saying donors need to counteract the Koch brothers influence by giving them money.
The campaign of Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, a candidate for Sen. Roy Blunt’s seat, sent an email from his wife saying ads by the Koch network would smear her husband.
“Their ads will probably have so many lies, I won’t even recognize they’re talking about my husband,” his wife writes before saying Kander’s campaign doesn’t need a special interest group to fight attacks. “We just need to his our goals, one at a time, to build grassroots strength.”
In his run against Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, former Gov. Ted Strickland got some musical muscle with the help of songwriting legend Carole King, who notes she backed up Strickland’s wife in some of his wife’s performances, who also spoke about the Kochs spending money to support Portman.
“The Koch brothers may have deep pockets,” King says. “But Ted has you and me.”
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Bringing Back Political Favorites
One way for candidates to rally the base of their party to give is to show they have the establishment stamp of approval. This was the case with Conner Eldridge, who is running for Senate in Arkansas against Sen. John Boozman, when he had an email sent out from veteran Clinton operative James Carville, with some of his classic Cajun candor.
“Us political junkies have seen them all before, and we know those ads will be bull,” Carville writes. “But if all those Washington insiders sling enough mud, some of it is going to stick.”
Though she’s not up for re-election until 2018, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent out an email from progressive favorite Sen. Elizabeth Warren before the fundraising deadline, using it to talk about New Year’s resolutions.
“My Resolution?” Warren asks. “Help Democrats retake the Senate majority — so we can do more to level the playing field for working families.”
Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee sent an email signed by newly-minted Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who talked about the need to have Republicans elected across the board.
“If we want a government accountable to the American people, then we must have a president and Congress that work in unison,” Ryan’s email writes, adding that is where he comes in.
Invoking the Holidays (and Hitler)
Since the FEC deadline comes just as the holidays come to a close, some candidates are hoping supporters saved a little bit of holiday cheer for their campaign coffers.
Along with Warren’s talk of New Year’s resolutions, Paul Chabot, a veteran running for Congress in California as a Republican, talked about  spending Christmas watching the Amazon series “Man in the High Castle,” which imagines a world if the Axis powers had won World War II. He then wonders aloud what would have happened if “today’s leaders were running America during WWII?”
“I believe we sadly would have negotiated for peace,  but only to see Nazi Germany breaking such a treaty for their end-state of world domination and extermination of the Jews,” Chabot says.
Ted Cruz’s asking for “sacrifice”
No one can ever accuse Sen. Ted Cruz of subtlety. But in the buildup to the fundraising deadline, Ted Cruz’s emails have been filled with rhetorical flourishes, including highlighting the recent Washington Post comic depicting his daughters and having to sacrifice family time.
“Days start before dawn and many times don’t end until early the next morning,” he says. “And what makes it worse is when my family is attacked — I’m sometimes not home to kiss my wife and children and assure them everything is going to be OK.”
Rather than having links to “donate,” Cruz’s email says in all-caps “I can sacrifice” a certain amount.
In another email, he says he just got off an emergency call with his campaign manager and finance director and that “I am still more than $400,000 short,” of what his campaign needed before the deadline, complete with an FEC deadline countdown clock.
“It is of the utmost importance that I don’t come up short,” Cruz writes in the email.

Roll Call Race Ratings Map: Ratings for Every House and Senate Race in 2016

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December 29, 2015

George Pataki Suspends Presidential Campaign

Pataki, seen here addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition on Dec. 3, is reportedly dropping out of the race. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Pataki, seen here addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition on Dec. 3, is dropping out of the race. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Former New York Gov. George Pataki is suspending his presidential campaign, he announced in a video message Tuesday evening.

“While tonight is the end of my journey for the White House, as I suspend my campaign for president, I’m confident we can elect the right person — someone who will bring us together and who understands that politicians, including the president, must be the people’s servant, and not their master,” Pataki said in the message, which aired on NBC affiliates in New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina.

Full story

December 28, 2015

Can Gowdy Help Rubio in Iowa?

Gowdy is running for re-election, despite retirement reports. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Gowdy is scheduled to campaign with Rubio in Iowa. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Update Dec. 29 3 p.m. | Sen. Marco Rubio will get a boost ahead of the Iowa caucuses as Rep. Trey Gowdy will join him to campaign on Tuesday.

Gowdy gained clout with many on the right for his work as chairman of the House Benghazi Committee that investigated the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in the Libyan city as well as Hillary Clinton’s response to it as secretary of state. Gowdy conducted a marathon hearing with Clinton in the hot seat in October.

A Des Moines Register and Bloomberg poll earlier this month showed Rubio in fourth place in Iowa, with Sen. Ted Cruz in the lead, followed by Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Cody Hoefert, co-chairman for the Republican Party of Iowa, praised Gowdy’s efforts regarding Clinton and said the South Carolina congressman is well-respected by activists.

“He asks tough questions,” Hoefert said. “He is seen as a real pit bull for the cause.”

The Tea Party Leadership Fund pushed for Gowdy to replace John Boehner as speaker of the House upon the latter’s resignation.

The Tea Party Leadership Fund had earlier attempted to draft Gowdy as speaker to replace while at the same time attempting to raise money off its efforts. But Gowdy spokeswoman Amanda Duvall said the group’s donation to the congressman was returned as soon as it was discovered.

Trump jumped on Gowdy for campaigning with rival Rubio, retweeting others’ condemnation.

But Trump gave Gowdy $2,000 in 2014, according to Federal Election Commission documents, Similarly, in February, Right to Rise PAC, Inc., which is affiliated with Rubio’s opponent Jeb Bush, gave $5,200 to Gowdy in committee contributions.

B.J. Jahn, chairman of the Des Moines County Republican Party, said while he liked Gowdy, he takes candidate endorsements “with a grain of salt.”

“I choose candidates based on their own merits,” Jahn said.

The endorsement could help Rubio in the primary in South Carolina, where Gowdy is the state’s most popular Republican politician. Like in Iowa, Rubio is polling a distant fourth in South Carolina, according to a Winthrop University poll from early December, with Trump in the lead, followed by Cruz and Carson.

An ARG poll of likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire, which votes between Iowa and South Carolina, released on Christmas Day showed Rubio running second to Trump.

Conservative news outlet first reported Gowdy would campaign with the presidential hopeful as part of Rubio’s “Out with the Old, In with the New” tour.

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December 25, 2015

Later Caucuses Allow Iowans to Enjoy Holidays

The U.S. Capitol Christmas tree is seen on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Monday. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

With the Iowa caucus coming a month later, some say this will allow people to enjoy their holidays. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Veterans of the Iowa caucuses say having the contest a month later than the past few will allow them to enjoy their Christmas season and that the date change could affect candidates’ trajectories.

The past three Iowa caucuses were held in January, with the 2008 and 2012 caucuses held two days after New Year’s Day. But they’re scheduled for February 1 this year.

Full story

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