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March 5, 2013
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel named 26 of his colleagues to the Frontline program, a committee program designed to protect their most vulnerable incumbents.
“We call this program Frontline for a reason – these Members are on the vanguard of protecting and expanding the middle class,” Israel said in a written statement released Tuesday morning.
“While the 2014 campaign will be dominated by a strong offense taking on the Tea Party Republican Congress, our success begins with our Members,” added Israel, a Democrat from New York. “These battle-tested men and women have proven time and again that they can win because no one better reflects the values of their districts.”
Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn. will spearhead the program as its chairman. He’s a Frontline alumnus as recently as the 2012 cycle.
Otherwise, the list includes several freshman members and Blue Dog Democrats:
February 25, 2013
Marcy Stech is leaving Priorities USA Action, the top-grossing Democratic super PAC in the 2012 election cycle, to be national press secretary at EMILY’s List.
Stech joins EMILY’s List on the heels of a banner year for the organization that backs Democratic women who support abortion rights. EMILY’s List helped elect 19 new women to the House and nine female Senate candidates, including six incumbents and three newcomers.
Stech signs on as national press secretary and succeeds Jess McIntosh, who moved up to replace Jen Bluestein as communications director. Bluestein is serving as a senior adviser to Americans for Responsible Solutions, the new gun safety super PAC run by ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and her husband, Mark Kelly.
Stech has “an incredible wealth of experience fighting for progressive causes,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock said in a statement.
Stech’s former posts include working on the 2010 campaign of Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and in the public affairs division of the strategic communications firm The Glover Park Group. Priorities USA Action raised $79 million in the previous cycle to help re-elect President Barack Obama.
January 29, 2013
The Club for Growth has championed Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, as one of its most ardent House conservatives.
So what does the deep-pocketed and influential group think about King running for Senate in 2014? Not much, yet.
“In general, we don’t take stands on potential Senate races,” spokesman Barney Keller said Tuesday. “When there’s a field, we’ll take a look at the race.”
January 28, 2013
Sen. Tom Harkin’s retirement makes the Iowa Senate seat more competitive by virtue of the six-term Democrat’s departure. Couple that with the Hawkeye State’s competitive nature, and this race could be one of the most targeted of the 2014 cycle.
Accordingly, CQ Roll Call now characterizes the Iowa Senate race as Leans Democratic, after previously rating the contest as Likely Democratic.
Harkin was favored for re-election, thanks in part to the $2.7 million he had in the bank. Today, the seat is in play — although it does not yet join the most competitive echelon of 2014 Senate races.
For this race to become a top target in 2014, the GOP must circumvent a divisive primary.
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., will kick off his re-election bid with $3.6 million in the bank, according to a copy of his fundraising report obtained by CQ Roll Call.
The Senate Finance Committee chairman raised $610,000 during the final three months of last year. His year-end report, which will be filed on the Jan. 31 deadline, showed he spent $121,500 during the same period.
Baucus’ big number comes as welcome news for Democrats, who face a difficult map in 2014. The six-term senator represents one of seven seats up this cycle in a state that the president lost.
January 25, 2013
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Reince Priebus was re-elected as chairman of the Republican National Committee on Friday, garnering the near unanimous support of the 168 RNC voting members.
The challenges facing Priebus as the head of the Republican Party entering the 2014 cycle are different than what he dealt with when he took over in 2011. Then, Priebus was tasked with overhauling RNC operations, including paying off a $24 million debt and rehabilitating its image among GOP donors. But he was buoyed at the time by fresh enthusiasm from big wins in the 2010 midterm elections.
This time around, the RNC is in good shape financially — the committee ended 2012 debt free and with $4.7 million in the bank. But the result of the 2012 elections left the party faithful deflated: The party’s brand is in the tank nationally, emerging demographic voting blocs favor the Democrats, and the GOP also finds itself trailing its opposition in the ability to target and turn out voters. Full story
January 23, 2013
Democratic National Committee members re-elected Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., as their chairman Tuesday, a committee spokesman confirmed to CQ Roll Call.
President Barack Obama indicated last month that he wanted Wasserman Schultz to continue in her role as head of the committee. DNC members confirmed his pick at their meeting Tuesday.
However, there were other major personnel changes at the DNC meeting:
The network also reported additional departures: Vice Chairmen Linda Chavez Thompson and Rep. Michael M. Honda, D-Calif., plus National Finance Chair Jane Stetson.
January 18, 2013
Updated March 5 | President Barack Obama is turning to the grass-roots supporters who helped re-elect him to now help carry out his legislative agenda, announcing Friday a new advocacy group dubbed Organizing for Action.
The group will be configured as a 501(c)(4) social welfare group and accept unrestricted corporate funding, the Associated Press has reported, raising questions about transparency on the heels of an election that saw record sums in undisclosed campaign spending.
Such tax-exempt organizations are not required to publicly report their contributors, and during the recent elections, Obama and congressional Democrats assailed the undisclosed “dark money” that helped politically active nonprofits spend hundreds of millions on campaign ads. Organizing for Action will reportedly take no money from lobbyists or political action committees.
January 11, 2013
National Republicans’ primary problems from the past two cycles are floating to the surface once again in West Virginia.
Conservatives immediately jumped on the news of West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s retirement, noting that there is now no reason a “conservative” candidate can’t win the seat next year with the five-term iconic Democrat absent from the ticket. Conservatives and establishment Republicans have battled in recent election cycles over which GOP Senate primary candidate was best positioned to win a general election.
In a statement Friday morning, Senate Conservatives Fund Executive Director Matt Hoskins said “the door is wide open for Republicans in West Virginia to nominate a true conservative,” citing President Barack Obama’s 26-point loss in the state in 2012 as evidence that a conservative would have no trouble winning. The Senate Conservatives Fund and other like-minded groups oppose Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, who jumped into the race a few weeks after the Nov. 6 elections and was immediately hailed by many Republicans in Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.
“We’re not going to stop looking for a conservative challenger in this race until the primary is over,” Hoskins said. “The voters in West Virginia get to decide who represents them and they should have a conservative choice.” The Senate Conservatives Fund is a super PAC founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who resigned his seat and jumped to The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think thank.
December 26, 2012
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday appointed his lieutenant governor, Democrat Brian Schatz, to fill the state’s vacant Senate seat for the next two years.
Schatz surprisingly got the nod over Democratic Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who was endorsed by Sen. Daniel K. Inouye just before he died last week. The choice of Schatz means Democrats will not have to hold a special election for Hanabusa’s seat, which Republicans briefly won control of in a 2010 special election. The appointment is good until the 2014 elections, when another election will be held for the right to serve out the final two years of Inouye’s term, which expires in 2016.
In an afternoon press conference, Abercrombie, a former congressman and colleague of Inouye, said he “of course” took Inouye’s wishes into account but felt he had to act “in the overall best interest of the party.” He said he also took into account Hanabusa’s placement on the House Armed Services Committee, a vital post for the military-heavy state.
“No one and nothing is preordained,” he said. Full story
December 20, 2012
Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford plans to run in the special election for Rep. Tim Scott’s seat, CNN reports.
The Republican’s entrance into the race shakes up a field that could include his ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, among other candidates.
Scott’s seat will be vacant soon because Gov. Nikki R. Haley appointed the GOP congressman to the Senate following Sen. Jim DeMint’s announced plans to resign in January to join The Heritage Foundation.
A few days ago, Roll Call reported Sanford was “studying” a comeback bid in Scott’s district.
November 30, 2012
Astronaut Jose Hernandez confirmed he’s interested in challenging Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., again.
Hernandez, a Democrat, just isn’t sure when that will be: 2014 or 2016?
“Democrats tend to show up in lower numbers than Republicans in off-years. It’s one of the concerns I need to worry about,” he told Roll Call in a brief Friday afternoon telephone interview. “Is it more winnable in two years or four years?”
Earlier this month, Denham survived as the only targeted California Republican on the November ballot. Democrats defeated many of his California GOP colleagues; for example Rep.-elect Ami Bera toppled Rep. Dan Lungren in a 2010 rematch.
Now Hernandez, who lost by 5 points, hopes he might follow his friend Bera’s success. He plans to talk to him and senior Congressional leaders on a yet-to-be-scheduled trip to Washington.
But Hernandez cautioned that he hasn’t made a decision yet about running.
“I’m not saying I’m running, but I’m not saying I’m not running,” he said. “I’m keeping my options and exploring what would make sense to do.”
November 29, 2012
The conservative Club for Growth is taking a hands-off approach to former Gov. Michael Rounds’ Senate bid — at least for now.
“We are not focused on South Dakota’s Senate race at this time, and we do not feel the need to comment on every candidate that announces for office,” said Barney Keller, a spokesman for the group, in response to an email inquiry from Roll Call. “We will continue to watch every race and go through our normal evaluation process.”
November 26, 2012
Former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, D-Ill., will run in the special election to replace her former political nemesis, former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.
Halvorson declared herself “the only candidate who could avoid freshman orientation and hit the ground running,” in a statement to local reporters Monday morning.
Jackson announced his resignation from Congress last week amid reports that he had negotiated a deal with federal investigators for alleged campaign fund misuse.
November 25, 2012
Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia will announce a bid for the Senate on Monday, taking aim at Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Roll Call has confirmed.
Rockefeller, 75, and a West Virginia institution first elected to the Senate in 1984, is considered a top potential Senate retirement.