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September 2, 2014

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April 25, 2013

Daylin Leach Talks Marijuana, Progressive Politics and Rock #PA13 | The Candidate

Daylin Leach Talks Marijuana, Progressive Politics and Rock #PA13 | The Candidate

Leach is running for Congress in Pennsylvania's 13th. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

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 politics@cqrollcall.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

Hawaii: Schatz’s Fundraising Sends Message to Potential Primary Foes

Hawaii: Schatzs Fundraising Sends Message to Potential Primary Foes

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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

Louisiana: Landrieu Raises $1.2 Million in First Quarter

Louisiana: Landrieu Raises $1.2 Million in First Quarter

Landrieu is a top GOP target in 2014. (By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

(See also on Roll Call: Cassidy Blasts Obama, Landrieu as He Officially Enters Senate Race) Full story

April 4, 2013

Pennsylvania: Fitzpatrick Gets Democratic Challenger

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.

Full story

March 29, 2013

3 Reasons Why Don Young Is Alaska’s Political Teflon

3 Reasons Why Don Young Is Alaskas Political Teflon

Young has come under scrutiny for a controversial phrase he used in an interview. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.”

Full story

Iowa: Christie Vilsack Announces New Federal Gig; Second House Bid Unlikely

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

Shop Talk: Smoot Joins Majority PAC

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.

The Democratic super political action committee spent millions to boost Senate candidates in 2012, including major buys in Indiana, Ohio and other states. Full story

March 16, 2013

Utah: Love Hires Top Hatch Strategist for Matheson Rematch

Utah: Love Hires Top Hatch Strategist for Matheson Rematch

Love prepares for a rematch with Matheson (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.”

Full story

March 15, 2013

Heller Loses Battle to Keep Office Space

Heller Loses Battle to Keep Office Space

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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

Shop Talk: Hagan Hires Preston Elliot as Campaign Manager

Shop Talk: Hagan Hires Preston Elliot as Campaign Manager

Hagan hired a campaign manager for her 2014 re-election bid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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

Obama Group to Reject Corporate Cash

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.

Full story

March 5, 2013

DCCC Announces 26 Members on Frontline Incumbent Retention Program

DCCC Announces 26 Members on Frontline Incumbent Retention Program

Israel leads the DCCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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:

Full story

February 25, 2013

Shop Talk: EMILY’s List Snags Marcy Stech

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

Iowa: Club for Growth Mum on King’s Potential Senate Bid

Iowa: Club for Growth Mum on Kings Potential Senate Bid

Rep. Steve King is rumored to be looking at the competitive Iowa Senate race. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.”

Full story

January 28, 2013

Iowa Senate Race Now Leans Democratic

Iowa Senate Race Now Leans Democratic

Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley is considering a 2014 Senate bid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

Full story

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