Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 25, 2014

Posts in "Iowa Senate"

October 24, 2014

Candidates Get Platform With GOP Weekly Address

Candidates Get Platform With GOP Weekly Address

(Screenshot)

Every week after President Barack Obama delivers his weekly address, the Republicans get a chance to respond. Because they don’t, of course, have a singular figure who would naturally address the nation each week, the speakers vary. So far in 2014, 11 Republican candidates — four House hopefuls and seven vying for Senate seats — have had the honor to take to YouTube and spread their party’s message.

In the fall of an election year, the GOP weekly address is an opportunity for Republicans to showcase some of their hopefuls on the ballot to a broader audience than the candidates can normally reach themselves — because not everyone pays attention to every Senate race, or to New York congressional campaigns.

“The weekly address is a great opportunity to showcase our diverse and talented group of candidates to the country,” said Michael Short, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, which coordinates the speeches. He said the party’s “tremendous slate” allows the GOP to contrast its record with the president’s.

There are some common themes mentioned time and time again: dissatisfaction with the president’s job approval, the desire to expand domestic energy production, repealing the Affordable Care Act and cutting government regulation.

Saturday’s address, posted at 6 a.m., will feature Will Hurd, the GOP nominee for Texas’ 23rd House district.

Here is a summary of the others.

Full story

October 16, 2014

New DSCC Ad Attacks Ernst on Abortion Stance

New DSCC Ad Attacks Ernst on Abortion Stance

Joni Ernst is running against Braley for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is launching a new ad in Iowa Thursday targeting Republican Joni Ernst over her stance on abortion and her sponsorship in the state Senate of a “personhood” bill.

Ernst faces Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, in one of the most competitive races this cycle. The open seat, currently held by retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, could be one of the six seats Republicans need to take control of the Senate.

The ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call, features an Iowa nurse named Kim Tweedy who says she has worked on the sexual assault response team.

“I’ve seen lots of cases, many of them are very brutal. It breaks your heart. I’ll never understand politicians who make it even harder, politicians like Joni Ernst,” Tweedy says. Full story

October 15, 2014

3 Senate Endgame Scenarios

3 Senate Endgame Scenarios

The winner of the race between Roberts, left, and Orman, right, will play a major role in deciding the Senate majority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

So much for a predictable midterm cycle. The past month has left multiple possible outcomes for control of the Senate.

Republican groups are barraging Kansas with resources and advertising to save a three-term incumbent being challenged by an independent in a solidly GOP state. Democrats, lacking much hope for months of holding an open seat in South Dakota, are all of a sudden dropping $1 million in advertising there — and being matched by Republicans — in a last-second Hail Mary that could possibly save its majority.

Just three weeks remain until Election Day, yet control of the Senate remains a dogfight and more than a handful of seats could conceivably go either way. The GOP has at least 10 states to find a path to six Senate seats and the majority, but — while public polling in most states appears to be moving in its direction — at this point the party has only locked up two Democrat-held seats in a favorable national climate.

Making matters more convoluted are the unknowns surrounding independent candidates Greg Orman in Kansas and Larry Pressler in South Dakota, who have yet to say which caucus they would join.

With so many variables and competitive races, plus potential and competitive runoffs in Louisiana and Georgia, the outcome of the midterm elections is anyone’s guess.

But as the votes start rolling in, there’s a chance the result will be one of the following three scenarios: Full story

October 10, 2014

NRSC Shifts Resources to Six States

NRSC Shifts Resources to Six States

Roberts, left, greets Moran, the NRSC chairman, at an event in their home state of Kansas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Updated, 9:04 a.m. | TOPEKA, Kan. — With less than four weeks until Election Day, the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s independent expenditure arm is shifting resources to increase its investment in six states, including South Dakota and Georgia.

The NRSC has moved $1 million to South Dakota, plus another $1.45 million to Georgia.

In South Dakota, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee made a $1 million television ad buy this week, on the heels of tightening poll numbers that showed its candidate, Rick Weiland, gaining ground. In Georgia, a new poll suggests a runoff is likely.

Full story

October 9, 2014

The 5 Big Questions on Senate Race Spending

The 5 Big Questions on Senate Race Spending

Republicans are closely keeping tabs on Tillis, right, and the North Carolina Senate race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s decision Wednesday to drop $1 million into South Dakota, a race previously written off as a Republican win, was just the latest shakeup of the Senate landscape this week.

On Tuesday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee cut its financial investment in Michigan, where an open seat and a favorable national environment had created an opportunity for the party.

With the Senate majority at stake, the national campaign committees and their outside-group allies are constantly re-evaluating races and analyzing where their resources are most needed and best put to use. It’s all part of a real-life game of Tetris, as the groups meticulously watch each other’s moves and look to fit their ads and messaging into a larger picture.

Many of the moves by the NRSC, the DSCC and other outside groups likely will fly under the radar over the next 26 days — though with potential runoffs in Louisiana and Georgia, Senate ads actually could be airing on TV into early next year. But others, including spending by the campaigns themselves, will offer definitive signs of a race’s potential competitiveness, as in South Dakota and Michigan.

With less than four weeks to go, here are some big questions about the Senate playing field and where the millions more in spending to come will land: Full story

October 8, 2014

Why Senate Attendance Attacks Are Usually Bogus (Video)

Why Senate Attendance Attacks Are Usually Bogus (Video)

Hagan serves on the Armed Services Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The worst-kept secret on Capitol Hill? Senators miss committee hearings and meetings. All the time.

Unless the senator wields the gavel, he or she may only show up for five minutes, or when it is their turn to ask questions. The results include guffaw-inducing scenes where even senior lawmakers enter the wrong hearing room, misidentify a witness and question the wrong person on the other side of the dais.

But out on the campaign trail, a less-than-stellar attendance record has become the political ammo in a number of Senate races, with criticism of incumbent lawmakers flying in Alaska, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Colorado and Iowa.

This cycle, much of the fodder has come from committee attendance records, at least compared to floor votes. It might look bad back home, but consistent committee attendance defies a reality on Capitol Hill. Full story

September 16, 2014

NRSC Ad Hits Bruce Braley on Congressional Attendance (Video)

NRSC Ad Hits Bruce Braley on Congressional Attendance (Video)

Braley is the target of another NRSC ad. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is launching a TV ad in Iowa Tuesday that criticizes Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley for his attendance record on the House floor and a committee he served.

The NRSC Independent Expenditure Committee ad, shared first with CQ Roll Call, is at least the second one to slam Braley for missing a significant number of committee hearings.

This one hits the congressman for his time on the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, as well as for missing more votes than any other Iowa member. A previous spot from GOP-aligned Freedom Partners hit Braley for skipping Veterans’ Affairs hearings. Full story

September 10, 2014

DSCC Blasts Ernst on Social Security Comments in New Ad

DSCC Blasts Ernst on Social Security Comments in New Ad

Ernst is in one of the cycle's tightest races. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is going up with a new ad in Iowa attacking Republican Joni Ernst for talking about privatizing social security and tying her to the Koch Brothers.

Ernst faces Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, in one of the most competitive races this cycle. The two are vying for the open seat currently held by retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

In the ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call, a male narrator attacks Ernst as “too extreme.”

“Joni Ernst is talking about privatizing Social Security. Risking it on the stock market,” the narrator says. Full story

September 9, 2014

John McCain Boosts Joni Ernst in Iowa Senate Race

John McCain Boosts Joni Ernst in Iowa Senate Race

McCain is an Arizona Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., blasted a mailer from a group supporting Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, for a “disgusting attack” on Republican Joni Ernst’s military service.

Braley and Ernst are running for retiring Sen. Tom Harkin’s seat in one of the cycle’s most competitive contests. The mailer, from NextGen Climate, an environment-focused group backed by Tom Steyer, says, “Joni Ernst is putting her big oil backers ahead of national security.”

“American troops have spent years fighting terrorists overseas,” the mailer reads. “But politicians like Joni Ernst are undercutting that battle here at home.”

In a statement provided first to CQ Roll Call, McCain blasted the mailer, calling it “beyond offensive” to say that about Ernst, who is a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard and would be the first female combat veteran in the Senate, if elected. Full story

September 8, 2014

Democrat Leads in New Iowa Senate Race Poll

Democrat Leads in New Iowa Senate Race Poll

Braley is an Iowa Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new poll shows Rep. Bruce Braley, a Democrat, has opened up a lead over his Republican opponent Joni Ernst in the battle for Iowa’s open Senate seat.

The Loras College poll of likely voters found Braley at 45.3 percent and Ernst at 40.5 percent. Just over 14 percent of respondents said they were undecided.

The race for retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin’s seat is one of the most hotly contested in the country, and the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rates it as a Tossup. Senate Republicans must pick up a net of six seats this November to win control of that chamber, and Iowa plays a prominent part in the GOP’s math to accomplish that.

Full story

August 15, 2014

Joni Ernst Tells TIME She Was Sexually Harassed in the Military

Joni Ernst Tells TIME She Was Sexually Harassed in the Military

Joni Ernst, Iowa Republican Senate Candidate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst told TIME Friday that she was sexually harassed in the military. Separating herself from many of her fellow Republicans, Ernst also said she would support taking sexual assault cases out of the military chain of command.

Ernst, a 20-year veteran, said in the interview with TIME that there are situations when soldiers may be hesitant to report sexual harassment.

“I had comments, passes, things like that,” Ernst said. “These were some things where I was able to say stop and it simply stopped but there are other circumstances both for women and for men where they don’t stop and they may be afraid to report it.”

After reports of high levels of sexual assault in the military, lawmakers worked to address the issue last spring. A main point of contention was whether such cases should be handled by military officers. Full story

August 13, 2014

It’s the Chuck Grassley Show at the Iowa State Fair

Its the Chuck Grassley Show at the Iowa State Fair

Grassley hams it up in the pork tent at the Iowa State Fair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES, Iowa — At the Iowa State Fair, the walk from the William C. Knapp Varied Industries Building to the swine barn should take about five minutes.

But with Sen. Charles E. Grassley, it takes 45.

Its the Chuck Grassley Show at the Iowa State FairSince the Republican was first elected to the Senate in 1980, Grassley, the Hawkeye State’s senior senator, has never been re-elected with less than 64 percent of the vote. At the Iowa State Fair, it is easy to see why.

On Friday, Grassley could not travel more than 10 feet without people stopping to shake his hand, get a picture or tell him how he great he is. GOP candidates agree with that sentiment: He was at the fair to campaign with Joni Ernst, the Republican nominee for Senate to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.

“I’d like to introduce you to someone. This is Joni Ernst, she’s running for Senate,” Grassley says, time and time again. Full story

August 12, 2014

In Iowa Senate Race, It’s Personality Versus Policy

In Iowa Senate Race, Its Personality Versus Policy

Ernst embraces a young supporter at the Iowa State Fair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES, Iowa – Joni Ernst is a hugger.

At the Iowa State Fair, the GOP’s nominee to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is hugging people she knows, people she’s meeting for the first time, and people who are excited to see her. On Friday, Ernst stops to hug and chat up someone else while Iowa’s three most senior Republican state officials — Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey — wait for her at a podium 10 feet away.

In Iowa Senate Race, Its Personality Versus PolicyErnst’s strong suit as a Senate candidate is that people seem to want to hug her back.

“Joni, we love you, honey! Keep up the good work!” shouts a man as she walks the fair with Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa.

Six months ago, Ernst was a second-tier candidate with little money in a four-way Republican primary. Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley had cleared the field, raised money, and seemed likely to keep the seat in his party’s hands.

Then, Ernst made a splashy ad about castrating hogs and a video emerged of Braley derisively referring to Grassley as just “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.” Suddenly, Ernst was a contender, and Braley was back on his heels, trying to apologize to the state’s beloved senior senator.

Ernst rode that momentum to a resounding primary victory two months later, and since then, the race has been counted among the most competitive of the cycle. Ernst could well be Iowa’s first female senator if the Hawkeye State voters prefer her farm girl charm over Braley’s record in Congress.

It’s why walking the fair with Braley and Ernst is like experiencing night and day.

Full story

June 23, 2014

Pick Your Clinton: Democrats Want Duo on Trail

Pick Your Clinton: Democrats Want Duo on Trail

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Clinton are exciting Democrats who hope for their help in the midterm elections. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Democrats are gearing up to unleash the Clinton Dynasty.

They hope deploying the popular former White House occupants could help drum up money and hype in what could be a tough election year for the party. Democrats see the power couple as an asset, especially because Republicans have no singular unifying figure who can hit the trail.

But good thing there’s two of them.

Democratic operatives say each half of the Clinton duo appeals to different segments of the electorate — so assignments to races must be deliberate and strategic.

North of the Mason-Dixon Line and east of the Mississippi River is former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton territory — replete with voters who have already warmed to electing women to Congress. Former President Bill Clinton, party officials say, plays better in the South and Midwest, where he performed well with traditional Yellow Dog Democrats who relate to the party’s economic message but tend to be more conservative on social issues.

Together, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate say there are few areas where the Clinton duo wouldn’t have a positive impact.

“Both Clintons can go into any competitive district in the country and be enormously helpful to Democratic candidates,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel said. “The second Secretary Clinton is ready, we’d love to have her campaigning for House Democrats.”

Full story

June 18, 2014

Poll: Tight Iowa Senate Race

Poll: Tight Iowa Senate Race

A new poll shows Braley, above, in a tight race with Ernst for Senate in Iowa. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new poll showed Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, with a narrow lead, 44 percent to 40 percent, over his Republican opponent, state Sen. Joni Ernst, in the competitive race for Senate.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, released Wednesday morning, comes a couple weeks after Ernst’s resounding victory in the Republican primary that local operatives say put this race in play. Ernst and Braley are vying for the seat currently held by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who is retiring.  Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...