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May 9, 2013
Republicans are lining up to challenge freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., a top GOP target in 2014.
Murphy narrowly defeated then-Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., last year. West has ruled out a comeback bid, but Abby Livingston reports on a litany of potential candidates in this week’s Farm Team column: Full story
May 7, 2013
Former Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis formally launched her campaign Tuesday to challenge freshman GOP Rep. Rodney Davis.
Callis is a top recruit of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Her entrance provides encouragement for a party that lost what it felt was a winnable seat in 2012.
“Like many of my friends and neighbors, I’m frustrated right now that Washington is not listening, and it’s not delivering for the middle class,” Callis said in a statement. “As Chief Judge, I’ve delivered reforms when Washington didn’t, and I’m running to deliver solutions for middle class families who are looking for good-paying jobs, and someone to protect Medicare and Social Security.” Full story
April 30, 2013
Polls close for the special primary for Senate in Massachusetts at 8 p.m. EDT. Check Roll Call tonight for results.
In the meantime, here’s what you might have missed “At the Races” on Tuesday …
#SC01: Larry Flynt — the publisher of Hustler — endorsed former Gov. Mark Sanford’s special election bid. He’s said he’ll donate the maximum to the struggling Republican’s campaign.
And in what will likely come as more welcome support, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and FreedomWorks PAC backed Sanford over the Democratic nominee, Elizabeth Colbert Busch. Meanwhile, House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, targeted female Republicans in its final ad before Election Day.
#PAgov: GOP Gov. Tom Corbett’s terrible polling makes Republicans nervous about four suburban Philadelphia seats.
#GAsen: Republican Rep. Jack Kingston will hold two news conferences on Thursday — and all signs point to him announcing a bid for Senate.
#2016: Libertarian Gary Johnson sounded like “he’s up for another run” in a speech at George Washington University on Monday night.
What we’re mulling on Tuesday… Full story
Gary Johnson might not be running for president in 2016 yet, but last year’s Libertarian Party candidate certainly sounds like he’s up for another run.
In an appearance at George Washington University on Monday night, Johnson not only sought to distinguish himself from his old affiliation — the Republican Party — but also took on what he believes are the failures of the Democratic Party.
Johnson received about 1 percent of the popular vote in the 2012 election, and he has not announced any intention to run for president in 2016. On Monday night, he said it’s just too early.
“Who’s got a voice that’s fiscally more conservative than any Republican, and who’s got a voice that’s more liberal than any Democrat? Me,” he said in an interview after the speech.
April 25, 2013
Editor’s note: Every year, scores of congressional candidates visit the CQ Roll Call offices to meet with reporters and Contributing Writer Stuart Rothenberg. This new blog feature, “The Candidate,” will ask these congressional hopefuls five questions about their campaigns. Responses have been edited and condensed.
Have a question for a candidate? We’ll announce their visits via Twitter, and you can tweet your inquiry to @RollCall or email email@example.com.
The candidate: State Sen. Daylin Leach, a Democrat.
The other candidates: State Rep. Brendan Boyle and Valerie A. Arkoosh, a medical professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, former Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, who represented part of that district two decades ago, is also considering a campaign.
The member: Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, a Democrat running for governor.
The district: Solidly Democratic 13th District in southeastern Pennsylvania.
The candidate’s team: Senior Adviser Aren Platt, Vanessa Gervasi DeRose (fundraising), Dan Fee of The Echo Group (mail), Devine Mulvey Longabaugh (media) and Marc Silverman of Thirty-Ninth Street Strategies (polling).
1. You live in a part of Upper Merion that is just outside the 13th District’s boundaries. Will you move into the district?
Leach: We’re discussing that. This is the issue: I told you I went to eight elementary schools and I lived in 14 residences. I always wanted my children to have a house that they grew up in. We live like six houses from the district. I have to consult with my family about this. Full story
April 11, 2013
Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, is trying to ward off potential primary challengers with hefty first-quarter fundraising and a veteran campaign team already in place for 2014.
The Democrat, appointed Dec. 26 to replace the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, announced on Thursday he raised more than $1.1 million in the first three months of this year.
A news release states that 79 percent of the money came from Hawaii donors. But he also received a boost from some Senate colleagues. Full story
Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., announced on Thursday that she raised more than $1.2 million in the first quarter of this year, more than double what her new opponent hauled.
Her GOP challenger, Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy, raised $500,000 in the same time period. He officially entered the race last week.
April 4, 2013
Democrat Kevin Strouse, a former Army Ranger, announced on Thursday that he will challenge GOP Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania’s 8th District.
The district, which almost evenly split its vote in the 2012 presidential contest, is one of the Democrats’ best pickup opportunities. Democrats need to net 17 seats in 2014 to win back the House, and they’ll likely need districts like this one in suburban Philadelphia to get there.
March 29, 2013
Longtime Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, drew anger from colleagues and voters when he referred to Hispanic farm workers as “wetbacks” this week. Young tried to explain the slur as outdated terminology from his youth, even as Speaker John A. Boehner demanded he apologize.
But Young, a 40-year House veteran, is probably not going anywhere anytime soon. He plans to seek a 21st term, saying recently he will keep running for Alaska’s sole House seat “until the day I can’t physically do it.”
In fact, Young has proved himself to be political Teflon in the Last Frontier. Here are three reasons why:
1. After 40 years in Congress, Young has seen — and said — it all. He’s survived multiple investigations by both the Justice Department and the House Ethics Committee (he was never charged). Earlier this month, the House Ethics Committee announced it is formally investigating him again, prompting this comment to the Alaska Dispatch:
“I’ve been under a cloud all my life,” Young said this week before his “wetbacks” comment aired. “It’s sort of like living in Juneau — it rains on you all the time and you don’t even notice it.”
Throughout his career, Young spouted off to his colleagues, most often about fighting for federal funds for Alaska. In 2005, for example, Young was asked to forgo some federal transportation projects for Alaska to help Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
“They can kiss my ear!” Young told a The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reporter. “That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”
Former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack, a Democrat, has taken a top post with an international government agency, a strong indication she will not run for Congress again anytime soon.
Last year, Vilsack unsuccessfully challenged Republican Rep. Steve King in Iowa’s GOP-leaning 4th District.
King is strongly considering a bid for retiring Sen. Tom Harkin’s seat in 2014, a campaign that would force an open-seat race in his current district in northwestern Iowa. Democrats had named Vilsack as a potential candidate for congress again, although she never publicly acknowledged her interest in a second race.
On Friday, Vilsack announced in an email that she’s taken a new gig in Washington, D.C.: Full story
March 18, 2013
Julianna Smoot, the deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election effort, has joined Majority PAC’s board of directors.
“We have a small, effective team to which she brings critical expertise and networks as we prepare for this election cycle and make sure we have every resource needed to keep a Democratic senate majority,” super PAC co-chair Susan McCue said in a press release Monday.
March 16, 2013
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — After a 1-point loss in Utah last year, Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love is actively laying the groundwork for a second challenge to the sole Democrat in the state’s delegation, Rep. Jim Matheson.
In preparation for a bid, Love has hired former state GOP Chairman Dave Hansen, who was widely heralded last year for successfully managing the re-election campaign of Sen. Orrin Hatch.
Love and Hansen sat down with CQ Roll Call for an interview Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where she was scheduled to speak.
“We are looking at it very seriously,” Love said. “We are trying to get people engaged and going, and let them know that we have to start early so that we are not starting from behind.”
March 15, 2013
Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller has lost the office suite his staff tried so hard to keep to Sen. Jerry Moran, the Kansas Republican’s office confirmed Friday.
As CQ Roll Call reported earlier this week, Heller’s staff had been using stalling tactics to prevent more senior member offices from viewing the space, which includes an unusually large personal office. Several complaints had been lodged with the Senate Rules and Administration Committee about the aggressive behavior of Heller staffers through the course of the months-long lottery process.
Heller had inherited his space from former Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., but at the beginning of each Congress, junior member offices are available for more senior members. Moran is 74th in overall Senate seniority; while Heller is only 85th.
Though other offices encountered unhelpful staffers and apparent ruses for why the office suite couldn’t be seen in its entirety, Moran’s staff reported a pleasant experience when they visited this week.
“We’ve selected Sen. Heller’s office. His staff was great to work with and showed Sen. Moran and our staff their suite multiple times,” Moran spokeswoman Garrette Silverman said via email.
Each office in the lottery has a 24-hour window to decide whether to move. In a particularly fractious exchange with the staff of Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Heller staffers cracked jokes about a potential primary challenger in the event Chambliss, who has since announced his retirement, took the Russell suite.
The episode caused some heartburn for Heller, with Nevada Democrats seizing on the issue as a scandal for the freshman senator’s office.
Now, Heller’s staff will have to tour other offices to find a new space before the lottery process ends in May. But they’ll have to wait their turn. Ten senators are ahead of them in the lottery.
March 12, 2013
Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., announced Tuesday she has hired Preston Elliott to be her 2014 campaign manager in a race that’s expected to be among Democrats’ toughest this cycle.
An experienced operative, Elliott served as campaign manager for Sen. Jon Tester’s re-election campaign in Montana, one of the most heavily targeted races of the 2012 cycle. He is also a veteran of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s 2010 re-election effort, and he was the deputy political director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
“I am so pleased to have Preston on board as my campaign manager,” Hagan said in a statement. “He has a proven track record of success, and with his help and the help of North Carolinians of all walks of life, I expect to cross the finish line with a victory in November 2014.”
Obstetrician and tea party supporter Greg Brannon is the first Republican challenger to enter the race.
But Republicans say Brannon won’t be the only — or the strongest — contender. They name state House Speaker Thom Tillis, Rep. Renee Ellmers, state Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry as potential candidates.
March 7, 2013
Under fire from watchdog groups and editorial writers, the pro-Obama advocacy group Organizing for Action has announced that it will no longer accept corporate money and will more fully disclose contributions.
“We have now decided not to accept contributions from corporations, federal lobbyists or foreign donors,” OFA’s national chairman, Jim Messina, wrote in a CNN.com op-ed posted Thursday. While as a tax-exempt social welfare group OFA “faces a lower disclosure threshold than a campaign,” wrote Messina, “we believe in being open and transparent. That’s why every donor who gives $250 or more to this organization will be disclosed on the website with the exact amount they give on a quarterly basis.”
Criticism of the group has been mounting since President Barack Obama’s campaign organizers announced its formation in January. Messina was Obama’s campaign manager, and top bundlers who round up $500,000 or more for the group will reportedly receive invitations to quarterly meetings with the president.
Common Cause President Bob Edgar has called on Obama to shut the group down, and Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer has also said the group should close up shop. Republicans on Capitol Hill have also voiced complaints, and the pro-GOP super PAC American Crossroads last week released a video lampooning OFA as “Organizing for Access.”
In the CNN.com op-ed and in a post on the OFA website, Messina stresses that the group’s mission is to counter the power of special interests, not leverage them.