Johnson is retiring. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
South Dakota Democrats are playing a tough hand in the Senate race, but they thought they could count on a wild card — former Sen. Larry Pressler — to help the contest break their way.
Pressler seems to have other plans.
Democrats already faced long odds to hold retiring Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson’s seat. Obama lost South Dakota by 18 points last cycle, and the state marks the GOP’s best pick-up opportunity in its 6-seat quest to win the majority.
The front-runner, popular former GOP Gov. Mike Rounds, faces several foes: Democrat Rick Weiland; state Sen. Gordon Howie, a conservative Republican running as an independent; and Pressler, who served three terms as a Republican but is running as an independent.
Democrats held out hope the race would become competitive if Pressler splintered GOP votes from Rounds. But so far, Pressler is doing the opposite — splitting Democrats and extinguishing the party’s remaining hopes of keeping the seat.
“He seems to be veering to the left,” said Ben Nesselhuf, former South Dakota Democratic Party chairman, in an interview with Roll Call. “I like this Larry Pressler a lot more than I liked the one in the mid 1990s. … His message and Rick Weiland’s message seem to kind of overlap.”
John Walsh was appointed to the Senate earlier this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Politics is overtaking the Senate floor schedule again this week, with a vulnerable Democrat leading the charge on a bill to give tax breaks to employers who return jobs to the United States.
But Sen. John Walsh, the Democrat appointed to fill the term vacated by the departure of Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., to be ambassador to China, didn’t appear before an array of cameras Tuesday afternoon with Senate colleagues, automobile and steel workers to tout his legislation.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., a longtime leader on the issue, indicated Walsh had a schedule conflict.
A state judge ruled Thursday two Florida House districts violated the state’s constitution, following a dramatic trial questioning the state’s recently redrawn boundaries following the 2010 U.S. Census.
It is still unclear whether the ruling will affect the 2014 elections.
Judge Terry Lewis ruled the 5th and 10th Districts, held by Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown and Republican Rep. Daniel Webster, respectively, violated the state constitution’s Fair District Amendments. He said the districts violated the 2010 amendments because they are not compact and were drawn to favor the Republican Party. The judge had some strong words for the Republican operatives and consultants that he ruled influenced the redistricting process.
Thad Cochran won the runoff in Mississippi, McConnell said. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky dismissed allegations from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, of impropriety in the Mississippi Republican primary — but noted it’s an issue for state officials to decide.
“I assume the people in Mississippi will look at what ever complaints are filed,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday when asked to comment on Cruz’s call for an investigation in to voter fraud. “That is what typically happens in a post election situation if there are complaints filed they are dealt with at the state level.”
“I think it’s pretty clear who won. Sen. [Thad Cochran, R-Miss.,] ran a very successful runoff campaign and got the most votes,” McConnell added. “But anybody is entitled to contest the outcome and that well may happen in Mississippi.”
The RNC convention in 2016 will be in Cleveland, and Portman played a leading role in Congress to bring the confab there. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
The Republican National Convention is headed to The Cleve in 2016.
The party’s site selection committee has picked Cleveland as the host city for the quadrennial conference that will nominate the GOP’s presidential ticket over the other finalist, Dallas.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told Fox News Tuesday that the convention will either start on June 28 or July 18.
Top Ohio Republicans in Congress — Sen. Rob Portman and House Speaker John A. Boehner — lobbied the RNC to bring the convention to the lakeside city. Supporters argued the city could host more delegates near the Quicken Loans Arena and there were political benefits of picking a swing state like Ohio.
Franken is seeking re-election in Minnesota. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Al Franken knows the story — just not from this side.
In 2008, a first-time candidate dogged by his career history faced a formidable incumbent dragged down by an unpopular second-term president. The result: now-Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., defeated then-Sen. Norm Coleman, a Republican, in a shockingly close race that only ended after a months-long contentious recount and legal battle.
Now Coleman’s hand-picked candidate wants to return the favor in 2014. Franken will face a wealthy investment banker and first-time candidate, Mike McFadden, in November — and this time, he’s the senator battling an unpopular president’s drag on the ballot.
In the New York primary, Charlie Rangel faced another tough challenge Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Updated 4 p.m. | Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., has averted the end of his political career again, securing a 23rd term in Congress after Tuesday’s highly competitive primary.
Rangel defeated his two-time foe, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, 47 percent to 44 percent, in the heavily Democratic district. The Associated Press declared Rangel the winner on Wednesday afternoon.
The 84-year-old Democrat declared victory earlier that day and underscored this was his final campaign, referring to this primary as his “one last fight.”
“I am grateful for this special privilege to continue serving my beloved community and friends, both my dearest old friends in Upper Manhattan and new ones in the Bronx, whom I have had the greatest honor of representing in Congress,” he said in a statement. “I’ve got a lot of fight in me and will not let them down.”
Espaillat had not conceded by Wednesday afternoon. Instead, he drew comparisons to the 2012 match that went into overtime with the ballot counting in a statement.
Kevin McCarthy is a Republican from California. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Regardless of the result of Thursday’s leadership vote, it’s unlikely House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy will suffer the same electoral fate as his colleague, Majority Leader Eric Cantor — at least this cycle.
Back home in California’s 23rd District, McCarthy’s opposition is nearly nonexistent. No candidates qualified to appear on the June 3 primary ballot with McCarthy in this solidly Republican district. In California, the top two vote recipients on the primary ballot, regardless of party, proceed to the general election.
But four write-in candidates registered to run in the district, and the one who has received the most votes will appear on the ballot as McCarthy’s challenger in November. Officials are still tabulating the results, which will likely be available on July 1.
David Brat, the political novice who upset House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Tuesday night. (Courtesy Brat Campaign)
David Brat, who pulled off a stunning — and convincing — win over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Virginia Republican primary Tuesday night, has been flying under the media radar for much of the campaign.
News organizations (including this one) scrambled Tuesday night to fill in the details on the college professor — he’s head of the department of Economics and Business at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va. — who had been generally described, if he had been described at all, in three words: “tea party challenger.”
The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal both posted articles under headlines asking “Who is David Brat?” and Brat himself did a star turn with a lengthy, post-victory interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. Full story
Political consultant John Pudner was a happy man Tuesday night, and why not? His candidate, Dave Brat, just walloped one of the most powerful Republican incumbents in the nation, despite being outspent by millions.
Pudner, who runs Concentric Direct, a political shop in Richmond, Va., emailed reporters after The Associated Press called the race for Brat, the novice politician and economics professor who defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
“Congratulations to Dave Brat and the conservative grassroots of Virginia’s 7th Congressional District for putting together a stunning victory over Eric Cantor! What a huge victory for the conservative movement!” he wrote.
“We have often taken on causes on behalf of conservatives set to be vastly out-spent, and we have a track record of overcoming incredible odds. Tonight, we are so excited to have played a role for such a stellar candidate who truly represents the grassroots of his district, and I was thrilled to be a part … “
Pudner, according to his bio on Breitbart.com, is a former sportswriter and statistics analyst who has run more than 200 political campaigns while aslo serving as a consultant on sports. He runs a website that ranks basketball players and advises NBA teams on drafting players.
The 2014 primary season rolls on Tuesday with races in Arkansas (runoff), Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina and Virginia, and the Roll Call Politics Team has you covered on results and analysis.
State Rep. Ruben Gallego, an Arizona Democrat, said he’s unsure how much money he’ll need to succeed retiring Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Ariz., in the 7th District, according to an interview with CQ Roll Call.
“It’s hard to say,” Gallego said. “It’s not going to be a cheap race. This is a five month race.”
The Democrat is running in a crowded Aug. 26 primary in this Hispanic-majority district based in Phoenix. The Democratic nominee is expected to win the general election in this strong Democratic district.
Gallego’s most formidable opponent is former Maricopa County Board Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, a longtime local official backed by Pastor and EMILY’s List. Full story
Cochran, above, trails McDaniel by less than 2,000 votes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Sen. Roger Wicker offered encouragement to his home-state colleague, Sen. Thad Cochran, on Wednesday, calling the Mississippi Republican’s re-election essential to the party’s effort to reclaim the Senate majority.
“He’s our best bet to hold the seat for a Republican majority,” Wicker said.
Asked if Cochran’s GOP opponent, Chris McDaniel, would be a viable candidate if he wins the runoff, the Mississippi Republican said, “I think if Thad Cochran is nominated three weeks from now — and I think he will be nominated — I don’t think the Democrats will play in Mississippi, I think they will spend their money elsewhere.”
His comments came hours after Cochran and his tea party opponent were in a virtual tie in the primary for the Republican nomination. McDaniel had a lead of less than 2,000 votes, with 99.8 percent of precincts reporting. Full story