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April 15, 2014
Alex Sink, the Democratic nominee in a recent high-stakes special election in Florida, will not challenge GOP Rep. David Jolly to a rematch in the 13th District this November.
“I am so honored and humbled by the outpouring of support our campaign received, but after reflection with my family I have made a personal decision not to run for the 13th Congressional District seat in the 2014 election,” she said in a statement released Tuesday. Full story
April 7, 2014
A seven-week gauntlet of Republican Senate primaries kicking off next month will decide the fate of the tea party’s success this year.
If a Republican senator loses a primary this year, it will more than likely occur in a span of nominating contests premiering in one month. Incumbents got the boot thanks to tea-party-backed hopefuls in both 2010 and 2012, and those lesser known Republican nominees went on to both triumphs and failures.
In the third election cycle since the rise of the tea party, fundraising and organization remain significant hurdles for anti-establishment candidates. The outside groups helping to fuel many of the primary campaigns concede they are realistic about their slim chances against incumbents and mainstream Republican candidates.
Still, tea party organizers said they remain hopeful about picking off a few House seats and perhaps a couple Senate seats in their continued pursuit of increased congressional influence.
“Some of our guys could lose, many of them could lose. We understand that,” said Daniel Horowitz of the Madison Project, which recruits and supports conservative candidates. “We take calculated risks. We want to see a path, but it’s very much an uphill path in many of these races, especially if you’re going up against an incumbent and even some of the open seats where you’re starting out with a lot less money.”
But, Horowitz added, “on a large scale we have already won by forcing most of the incumbents to embrace, at least publicly, many of our policies.”
The races to watch begin May 6 in North Carolina, followed by Nebraska on May 13, Kentucky and Georgia on May 20, Mississippi on June 3 and South Carolina on June 10. South Dakota’s open seat has also invited a June 3 primary with similar dynamics, but it has drawn less outside interest than the others.
March 20, 2014
Updated 8:57 a.m. | The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $6.8 million in February, bringing its total fundraising for the cycle to $66 million.
According to figures announced by the committee Thursday, the DSCC has now raised more than $13 million in the first two months of the year. It ended February with $18.1 million in cash on hand and paid down its debt to $1.2 million.
The NRSC raised less than the DSCC — $5.47 million — during February, according to fundraising totals the GOP committee released on Thursday morning. The NRSC has $12.75 cash on hand and zero debt. Full story
March 10, 2014
AUSTIN, Texas — Staffers from Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s 2012 campaign gave an inside look at the strategies that helped the Massachusetts Democrat clinch victory at a South by Southwest panel Monday.
Warren had never run for office before her Senate campaign, but thanks to grass-roots organizing and extensive online efforts, she went on to defeat incumbent Scott Brown by 7.5 points. The panelists were digital director Lauren Miller, field director Mike Firestone, get-out-the-vote director Amanda Coulombe and campaign manager Mindy Myers, who is now Warren’s chief of staff. Full story
January 23, 2014
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said Thursday that Democrats, the administration and the IRS must immediately “redouble” efforts to close loopholes created by a recent Supreme Court ruling that opened the floodgates for money into politics.
“One of the great advantages the tea party has is the huge holes in our campaign finance laws created this ill-advised decision,” said Schumer, referring to Citizens United, in an afternoon speech at the Center for American Progress. “Obviously, the tea party elites gained extraordinary influence by being able to funnel millions of dollars into campaigns with ads that distort the truth and attack government.” Full story
January 16, 2014
Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, a super PAC backing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has hit the radio airwaves with an ad that slams his Democratic rival over the issue of coal.
The minute-long ad rails against Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes on the issue of coal.
January 9, 2014
Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie is informing Virginia Republicans that he will challenge first-term Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., in 2014, according to The New York Times.
A spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee declined to comment on the story. Full story
January 6, 2014
Updated 1:48 PM, 2:20 PM, 4:53 PM | Rep. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., announced Monday he will not seek re-election in 2014, marking yet another moderate House Republican to leave Congress.
“Nearing the end of my sixth term in the House and following 12 years of public service in the Pennsylvania House and Senate, it is simply time for me to move on to new challenges and to spend more time with my wife and family,” Gerlach said in a statement to PoliticsPA.com, which first reported the news.
Gerlach’s departure gives Democrats a decent opportunity in southeastern Pennsylvania. Mitt Romney carried the 6th District with 51 percent in 2012. Full story
January 3, 2014
The competitive composition of Florida’s 13th District makes this race fascinating, but it’s also the first big contest on the calendar for 2014. This special election will serve as a test balloon for the parties to check their messaging with a split electorate months ahead of Election Day.
Longtime Rep. C.W. Bill Young’s death has spurred the first competitive race for the western Florida district in a few decades. Young carried the district easily, but President Barack Obama narrowly won the seat with 50 percent in 2012.
January 2, 2014
This cycle’s best bellwether for Senate control is North Carolina, where Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, is seeking re-election in this increasingly frequent battleground state.
Senate Republicans must pick up a net of six seats to win control, and the Tar Heel State has served as that chamber’s best barometer in recent cycles. Since 2000, the party of North Carolina’s Senate victor has picked up seats across the country.
That’s what happened in 2008, when Hagan defeated then-Sen. Elizabeth Dole, and Democrats picked up several Senate seats on the coattails of President Barack Obama’s first election. Hagan won’t have that benefit in 2014, when the president’s poor approval rating will not help her re-election efforts. Full story
December 31, 2013
Like many politics news consumers/news people working during the holidays, I’ve read a lot of listicles in the last couple weeks (some even on Roll Call). My eyes now glaze over when the words “best of” run across my Tweetdeck.
So here’s something slightly different for the end of 2013. Hopefully, you read our best politics stories of 2013 when they originally published. But here’s a closer look at how the year’s best stories from Emily Cahn, Abby Livingston, Kyle Trygstad, Nathan L. Gonzales and Stu Rothenberg happened.
Warning: Story generation isn’t often sexy or even interesting. To my knowledge, no Roll Call politics reporter secretly met a source in a Rosslyn parking garage this year. Mostly, they get their best ideas by dialing sources outside the Beltway. Other times, they get lucky with a news tip. Regardless, I think it’s valuable to our readers to see the origins of our best coverage.
In no specific order, here’s how Roll Call’s 13 best politics stories of 2013 happened:
1. 6 Things Losing Candidates Say (Aug. 22). Nathan didn’t think this story would get much attention during a sleepy, off-year August recess. He and Stu Rothenberg meet with scores of congressional hopefuls every cycle, and Nathan thought his advice to candidates seemed obvious (for example, don’t hire your spouse as a campaign manager). But the story quickly became one of Roll Call’s most popular pieces, and operatives tell us they now give it to candidates before they do interviews with national media — especially prior to meeting Stu and Nathan. The list spurred a few fun spin-offs too: 5 Things Winning Candidates Say and 4 More Things Losing Candidates Say (Readers Edition).
December 30, 2013
The candidate: Former Maryland state Sen. Alex Mooney
The member: Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is running for Senate, leaving an open race for her House seat in 2014.
The district: In 2012, Mitt Romney won the 2nd District, which includes Charleston and the Eastern Panhandle, by more than 20 points. But Democrats continue to win local office in this region in West Virginia, making the race somewhat competitive.
December 27, 2013
The candidate: Surgeon Bob Johnson, a Republican.
The member: Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., who is running for Senate, leaving his seat open in 2014.
The district: Kingston has held the 1st District, which includes all of of Georgia’s coastline, since 1992. It’s a strong district for the GOP, and Mitt Romney carried it with 56 percent last cycle.
The team: John Konkus at Jamestown Associates (general consulting, media/communications, and mail), Robert Blizzard (polling), and Nathan Wurtzel at The Catalyst Group (PAC fundraiser).
December 17, 2013
Updated 5:48 p.m., 6:55 p.m., 7:56 p.m. | Iowa Republican Rep. Tom Latham, a top ally of Speaker John A. Boehner, became the third member of Congress to announce his retirement on Tuesday.
December 9, 2013
Omaha City Councilman Pete Festersen, a Democrat, has dropped his bid to challenge Republican Rep. Lee Terry in Nebraska’s 2nd District, according to a national Democratic source.
Festersen served as the poster child for House Democrats’ candidate recruitment spree during the government shutdown in October. The source said he is leaving the race for personal reasons, but also noted that Festersen’s fundraising and campaign did not meet expectations. Full story