Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 2, 2014

Posts in "States"

August 29, 2014

Likely Stockman Successor Has Deep Texas Roots

Likely Stockman Successor Has Deep Texas Roots

Babin and wife Roxanne celebrate. (Courtesy Tyler County Booster)

WOODVILLE, Texas — Brian Babin, the small-town dentist poised to take over Steve Stockman’s House seat in November, may be a political unknown in Washington — but don’t try peddling that line to folks here.

Everybody in the vast, mostly rural 36th in southeast Texas, it seems, knows “Doc Babin.”

Likely Stockman Successor Has Deep Texas RootsDuring an interview with CQ Roll Call recently at a diner in his hometown, the 66-year-old Republican was greeted with hugs and handshakes from almost everyone in the lunch crowd, including a star-struck waitress who said she’s been a fan — “He’s great!” — of the longtime local dentist since she was a little girl.

Babin, dressed casually in jeans and a checked shirt, worked the room like he was the mayor (which, of course, is one of the many posts he’s held in this community of 2,586).

“After all these years, I feel like I know every Republican in five counties — and most Democrats, too, for that matter,” Babin said, grinning.

Those connections, built up over decades — he’s also been a city councilman, a school board member, chamber of commerce director, state historical commission member and a representative on the area water authority — made him a formidable contender when Stockman announced last year he would forgo another term in the House to mount what turned out to be an ill-fated challenge to Sen. John Cornyn.

Full story

August 28, 2014

Thom Tillis Rebuts Democratic Attacks in New Ad

Thom Tillis Rebuts Democratic Attacks in New Ad

Hagan is tied to the president in a new GOP ad. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis is going up with a new ad Tuesday to combat Democratic ads attacking him for cuts to education.

The state House speaker faces Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in one of the most competitive races and likely the most expensive. The ad is the first of a $1.4 million coordinated buy with the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Democrats have reserved $9.1 million in air time through the election. The party’s first two ads focused on cuts to education made by the legislature under Tillis’ leadership.

Tillis rebuts those claims in the new ad, in which he illustrates on a classroom whiteboard how often Hagan votes with President Barack Obama. Full story

August 26, 2014

Democrat Describes Race as Party’s Best Pickup Opportunity (Video)

Democrat Describes Race as Partys Best Pickup Opportunity (Video)

Aguilar, Democratic candidate for California's 31st District. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call)

Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar called his bid for California’s 31st District the Democrats’ best chance to pick up a Republican seat in the midterms.

“It is the most Democratic seat held by a Republican in the nation,” Aguilar told CQ Roll Call in a July 16 interview. “And the Republican decided to retire. So this is a great opportunity, Democrats’ best opportunity for a pickup.” Full story

Scott Brown Features New Hampshire Senator in New Ad

Scott Brown Features New Hampshire Senator in New Ad

Ayotte speaks at a town hall rally last week for Brown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte stars in the latest ad from Republican Scott P. Brown, her former Senate colleague from Massachusetts who is trying to oust Granite State Democrat Jeanne Shaheen.

Ayotte, who introduced Brown and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., at a town hall meeting in Derry, N.H., last week, speaks directly to the camera in the positive spot. Full story

August 22, 2014

Hagan Criticizes Obama Ahead of North Carolina Visit

Hagan Criticizes Obama Ahead of North Carolina Visit

Hagan has been campaigning on the VA issue. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:38 p.m. | Sen. Kay Hagan doesn’t sound thrilled President Barack Obama is coming to town.

The North Carolina Democrat, one of the most vulnerable senators, issued a terse statement about Obama’s veterans policy ahead of his planned Tuesday visit to her home state.

The White House announced late Friday that Obama will deliver remarks at the American Legion’s 96th National Convention. The appearance gave Hagan an opportunity to criticize the president in the wake of a scandal that has captured national attention. Hagan’s office blasted her statement just 31 minutes after the White House released the schedule.

“The Obama Administration has not yet done enough to earn the lasting trust of our veterans and implement real and permanent reforms at the VA,” Hagan said.

Full story

Judge OKs New Florida Congressional Map for 2016

A state judge upheld the Florida legislature’s newly revised congressional map Friday, ruling the redrawn House districts should apply to the 2016 elections.

“The 2014 elections will have to be held under the map as enacted in 2012,” Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis wrote in his ruling, siding with Florida lawmakers who argued that applying new district lines to this election cycle would create chaos.

The ruling allows the Aug. 26 primaries to continue as scheduled. Even so, the new map makes minor changes to the state’s House districts and will likely have a minimal effect in 2016 on the congressional delegation, where House Republicans currently outnumber Democrats 17 to 10.

Full story

With No Recount in Wisconsin Primary, Grothman Becomes GOP Nominee

After a week and a half of uncertainty, the Republican nominee to represent Wisconsin’s 6th District will be state Sen. Glenn Grothman.

The Associated Press originally declared Grothman the winner of the GOP primary last week but then rescinded its call after additional votes came in and rendered the race too close to call.

After the 11 counties in the district verified their vote counts Wednesday, Grothman maintained his lead by 219 votes, or 0.47 percent, but it was unclear whether the second place finisher, state Sen. Joe Leibham, would call for a recount. Full story

Mary Rose Wilcox Vies for Arizona’s 7th District (Video)

Mary Rose Wilcox Vies for Arizonas 7th District (Video)

Wilcox, D-Ariz., candidate for Congress from Arizona's 7th district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, a Democrat, hopes her community ties and political experience will boost her to victory in Tuesday’s primary in Arizona’s 7th District.

In an interview with CQ Roll Call in Washington, D.C., Wilcox laid out what she believes will be a winning strategy for the primary.

“We’re targeting, we’re making sure that we’re getting the voters out,” said Wilcox in late July. “I know my community. My community has shared with me many of their concerns, and so the message is one that is resonating. And that’s how we win.” Full story

August 21, 2014

Slip of the Tongue in South Dakota Senate Debate (Video)

Slip of the Tongue in South Dakota Senate Debate (Video)

Republicans are favored to pick up Johnson's open seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

South Dakota Democratic Senate hopeful Rick Weiland apparently is not so hopeful.

Republican former Gov. Mike Rounds is the clear front-runner for the state’s open Senate seat, and Weiland accidentally ceded that fact at a debate Wednesday.

“Senator — or, soon-to-be —” Weiland said before catching himself and laughing. “No, not soon-to-be. That’s a good gaffe. I’ll take that back. Soon-to-want-to-be Sen. Mike Rounds.” Full story

Once a GOP Staffer, Candidate Now Vies to Be Main Event

Once a GOP Staffer, Candidate Now Vies to Be Main Event

Young, left, and Grassley, right, campaign at the Iowa State Fair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ADEL, Iowa – When David Young first became Sen. Charles E. Grassley’s chief of staff seven years ago, the senator sat him down for a talk. Young thought he was in for the riot act or a long list of rules.

Once a GOP Staffer, Candidate Now Vies to Be Main Event

Instead, as he tells it in the parking lot where people are shucking corn for the Adel Sweet Corn Festival, Iowa’s beloved senior senator recounted some advice he received when he first came to Washington.

“He said, ‘[whatever] your constituents want, anything and everything, you do it,’” Young recalls. “‘If they want you to cut their toenails, you cut their toenails.’”

A few weeks later, Young went out and bought enough toenail clippers for the entire staff as a reminder of their mission. Today, Young recounts that tale as a candidate for Iowa’s open 3rd District. Grassley tells the same story in Young’s first general election radio ad.

Young jokes that he probably needs to start carrying around toenail clippers. “Undoubtedly, someone’s going to come up to me and say, ‘Cut ‘em Dave,’” he jokes, saying he might also need “a 5 gallon Purell pump” to finish the job.

Full story

August 20, 2014

Pat Quinn Could be Drag on Illinois Democrats

Pat Quinn Could be Drag on Illinois Democrats

Schock, left, and Davis, watch Rauner fire up the crowd. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The national political tide isn’t looking good for Democrats, but in Illinois this November, down-ballot candidates have an even bigger problem: the drag of Gov. Pat Quinn.

Pat Quinn Could be Drag on Illinois Democrats

The Land of Lincoln is a hotbed of political activity this cycle, with Democrats defending three freshmen House incumbents and looking to pick-off one more — Republican Rep. Rodney Davis in the ultra-competitive 13th District.

All but one of those races take place outside of Chicago’s Cook County — the last bastion of support for Quinn and one of just three counties he carried in the state when he narrowly won the role in 2010. That geography is bad news for Democrats looking to tamp down losses in the midterms.

There was no clearer example of Quinn’s problems than last week’s Illinois State Fair, where elected officials, political operatives and party insiders from both sides of the aisle descended upon the Springfield fairgrounds for each party’s respective day of rallies.

On Aug. 14, Republicans flocked to the fairgrounds to support Bruce Rauner, the party’s wealthy gubernatorial nominee who rolled up to the rally on his Harley Davidson and then delivered a red-meat speech going after Quinn in front of a fired up crowd of supporters.

It was a stark contrast from Democrats’ gathering the day before, where instead of riling up his base at the fair, Quinn instead hosted a low-key picnic to pose for photos with a more mellow group of supporters, many of whom were bussed in from the Chicago area.

Full story

August 19, 2014

NRSC Launching Coordinated Ad Buy in North Carolina

NRSC Launching Coordinated Ad Buy in North Carolina

Republicans hope Tillis will win the North Carolina Senate seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is launching a coordinated TV ad buy next month with North Carolina Senate hopeful Thom Tillis.

The $1.4 million buy begins Sept. 2 and runs through Sept. 22 on broadcast and cable, according to the Tillis campaign. Full story

Peterson’s Greatest Challenge Yet, but GOP Still Looks to 2016

Petersons Greatest Challenge Yet, but GOP Still Looks to 2016

(Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images File Photo)

Minnesota Democrats think Rep. Collin C. Peterson is nearly unbeatable in the 7th District. For the first time in more than a decade, that theory is about to be put to the test.

Peterson is one of just a handful of House Democrats representing a decidedly Republican district, but he has won re-election even in GOP wave years. In 2012, presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the conservative, rural district by 10 points as the Democratic lawmaker won his race by a 25-point margin.

This year, Peterson faces his most formidable challenger in several cycles. Though the Democrat remains the front-runner, Republican state Sen. Torrey Westrom brings a compelling life story as the first blind member of the legislature, and more political experience than any of Peterson’s recent opponents.

“We’re paying attention,” Peterson told CQ Roll Call in a recent interview. “We’ve never been targeted before, so we’re not exactly sure what’s going to happen.”

Minnesota Republicans and Democrats agree on one point, at least: Westrom has a good shot at ending up in Congress.

It’s just not clear when.

Full story

Jeff Merkley Touts Efforts to Stop Outsourcing in New Ad

Jeff Merkley Touts Efforts to Stop Outsourcing in New Ad

Jeff Merkley is seeking re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call))

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., is going up with a new ad Tuesday focusing on his efforts to prevent companies from outsourcing jobs.

Merkley speaks directly to the camera in the positive spot, provided first to CQ Roll Call, describing his father working at a mill when he was growing up.

“As men and women clock in across the state, thousands of hands are building a stronger Oregon. But there are still special interests that want to give tax breaks to corporations that ship our jobs overseas,” Merkley says.

Full story

August 18, 2014

Martha McSally Tries to Fly to Victory

Martha McSally Tries to Fly to Victory

McSally is running for Congress in Arizona. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

TUCSON, Ariz. — Operatives couldn’t make up a better candidate résumé if they tried: retired Air Force Colonel, first in her class at the U.S. Air War College, the first female fighter pilot in combat who flies the very plane — an A-10 Warthog — that’s economically essential to the 2nd District.

At a time when Republicans wrangle with messaging to female voters, this 48-year-old’s spunk and articulate bite is made for television — and unlike anything the House GOP Conference has seen in a while.

Martha McSally Tries to Fly to VictoryBut can Martha McSally finally win this House seat on her third try, and, more pressing for this Friday evening, can the Republican spell “logomachy”?

“L-O-G-O-M-A-C-H-Y,” McSally enunciates to the judges, who nod in approval at a spelling bee fundraiser just off the Old Pueblo’s newly booming downtown strip. It means an argument about words — something of which there’s plenty in her race.

After nearly a dozen rounds, the competition has dwindled from 15 local celebrities and the judges have to regroup because they’ve run out of pre-selected words to challenge the two finalists. McSally is one of them, and when it’s her turn, she walks into the single spotlight on stage and tries to spell “sayonara.”

She blows it. 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...