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April 18, 2014

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November 7, 2012

North Dakota: Rick Berg Concedes to Heidi Heitkamp

North Dakota: Rick Berg Concedes to Heidi Heitkamp

Rep. Rick Berg conceded the North Dakota Senate race on Wednesday. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Rick Berg (R) conceded to former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) in the North Dakota Senate race. It was the final outstanding Senate race of the the 2012 cycle.

This means that out of the seriously competitive Senate races, Republicans only won one Democratic-held seat. It also means that Democrats will have a majority of 55 Senators, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and assuming that Sen.-elect Angus King (I) of Maine will caucus with the party.

Republicans, who a year ago were expected to pick up seats and possibly the majority, actually lost 2 seats and will hold 45 seats in the 113th Congress.

Beyond California, Six House Races Too Close to Call

Beyond California, Six House Races Too Close to Call

Rep. Allen West appeared headed toward defeat this morning, but his re-election race had not yet been called. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Razor-thin margins mean more than a handful of House races might not produce a winner today — or this week. There are still several races in California that have yet to be called by the Associated Press. Here are the races outside the Golden State that remained too close to call as of this morning.

  • In Arizona’s 1st district, former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) has a 6,716-vote lead over Jonathan Paton (R), with 100 percent of precincts reporting.
  • In Arizona’s 2nd district, Air Force Col. Martha McSally (R) led Rep. Ron Barber (D) by 386 votes — with 100 percent of precincts reporting. There’s an automatic recount in Arizona when the winner’s margin is less than one-tenth of a percentage point. Full story

Blue Dogs Live to Fight Another Day, Despite Some Defeats

Blue Dogs Live to Fight Another Day, Despite Some Defeats

Blue Dog Democrat John Barrow won re-election, surprising some who thought his newly drawn district would doom his bid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s been two tough cycles for conservative Blue Dog Democrats, but amidst the dark clouds — three caucus members lost — there were some very bright spots for the battered breed on Election Day.

Democratic Reps. John Barrow (Ga.) and Jim Matheson (Utah) pulled out re-election victories, despite running in reconfigured and heavily Republican districts. And Rep. Mike McIntyre (N.C.) looked poised for victory in another Republican district, although the Associated Press had not called the race by Wednesday morning. All three are Blue Dog Democrats who managed to localize their contests and run as conservatives, not letting national issues sweep them away. Full story

New Hampshire: Carol Shea-Porter to Return to Congress

Former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) defeated Rep. Frank Guinta (R) Tuesday night, according to Associated Press projections.

Shea-Porter was an underdog for most of the cycle — but her hopes were very much tied to President Barack Obama’s performance in the Granite State. Even some Democrats were dubious of her chances of returning to Congress.

But Obama is on track to win by more than 5 points, and Shea-Porter corrected one of her biggest weaknesses in the third quarter: fundraising.

This means that New Hampshire will continue its 18-year tradition of sending two Members from the same party to Congress. But also, New Hampshire will have an entirely female House and Senate delegation, along with a female governor.

November 6, 2012

No Surprises in Florida House Races

Every House race but one has been called in the Sunshine State, and there have been no surprises.

But firebrand Rep. Allen West (R) remained locked in a razor-tight contest with businessman Patrick Murphy (D) in Florida’s 18th district. With 96.4 percent of precincts reporting, West led with 50.2 percent to Murphy’s 49.8 percent, according to the Associated Press.

Here are other competitive race results, as reported by the AP:

  • Freshman Rep. Steve Southerland (R) beat former state Sen. Al Lawson in the Panhandle 2nd district by a comfortable 5-point margin.
  • Freshman Rep. Daniel Webster (R) held off a challenge from former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings, beating her by 3.6 points.
  • Rep. Vern Buchanan (R) easily beat former state Rep. Keith Fitzgerald (D) by more than 7 points.
  • Former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel (D) beat former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner (R) in the open 22nd district, reconfigured to be significantly more Democratic.
  • Embattled Rep. David Rivera (R) lost to Democrat Joe Garcia in the Miami-area 26th district.

Illinois: At Least Three GOP Incumbents Go Down

At least three GOP House incumbents lost their seats in Illinois tonight, according to Associated Press projections.

Here is a roundup of the competitive Illinois House seats as of late tonight:

Illinois’ 8th 

Veteran Tammy Duckworth (D) defeated Rep. Joe Walsh (R).

Illinois’ 11th 

Former Rep. Bill Foster (D) over Rep. Judy Biggert (R).

Illinois’ 12th

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Bill Enyart (D) defeated businessman Jason Plummer (R).

Illinois’ 17th 

Former East Moline Alderwoman Cheri Bustos (D) defeated Rep. Bobby Schilling (R).

The only outstanding competitive Illinois race is for the 10th district. Almost 99 percent of precincts were reporting, but it was too close for the AP to call. Democrat Brad Schneider is challenging Rep. Robert Dold (R). Schneider was up by 1 point as this was posted.

The race for the 13th district between Rodney Davis (R) and David Gill (D) was also too close to call.

Tar Heel Blues for North Carolina Democrats

Tar Heel Blues for North Carolina Democrats

Rep. Larry Kissell (above) lost to former Congressional aide Richard Hudson. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

North Carolina Democrats are having a very, very bad night. Running in a redrawn Congressional map favoring the GOP, at least three Democratic Congressmen will not be coming back to Capitol Hill. The only bright spot for Democrats: Rep. Mike McIntyre’s race remained too close for the Associated Press to call as of 10:10 p.m.

Democratic Rep. Larry Kissell (D) lost to former Congressional aide Richard Hudson (R). With 68 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press said Hudson had 58.4 percent to Kissell’s 41.6 percent. Kissell, a lackluster fundraiser and campaigner, always had a steep path back to the House. After the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee abandoned him, not fulfilling reservations it had to advertise on TV for him, his fate was all but sealed. Full story

John Boehner: A Republican House Means No Tax Rate Hikes

John Boehner: A Republican House Means No Tax Rate Hikes

Speaker John Boehner addresses the crowd at the Republican National Committee election night party in D.C. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker John Boehner drew a firm line on taxes tonight, saying that Republicans’ retention of the House majority is a sign the public does not want a tax rate hike.

With CNN and NBC projecting that the GOP will retain the House majority, Boehner and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) took the stage at the GOP’s victory party in Washington, D.C., to cheer on the crowd.

“The American people want solutions, and tonight, they’ve responded by renewing our majority,” the Ohio Republican said. “With this vote, the American people have also made clear that there is no mandate for raising tax rates.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus did not join them onstage, although the official schedule released earlier in the day had listed him as speaking before Sessions.

With Democrats claiming several Tossup Senate seats, the path to victory for Republicans in that chamber is slimming. The presidential contest remains extremely close as well.

Boehner thanked Priebus from the stage nonetheless. He also thanked GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), who, he said “carried the banner of our party with grace, vision, strength and dignity.”

“We stand ready to work with any willing partner — Republican, Democrat or otherwise — who shares a commitment to getting these things done,” he said. “We’re humbled to have again been entrusted by the American people with the responsibility of leading the People’s House. We’ll never take it for granted, and we won’t let you down.”

Sessions, who introduced Boehner, called the House an “incubator of ideas.”

“We will continue to work with the American people on ideas that will make our country stronger, more competitive and will build back the American dream,” he said.

Steve Israel Vows Dems Will Pick Up Seats

Steve Israel Vows Dems Will Pick Up Seats

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the disappointing election results were being tallied, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel vowed to operatives at an election night party that Democrats would pick up seats in the House.

The bar is lower than the goal of retaking control of the chamber that leaders have talked up for the past two years. Even as networks were calling the House for Republicans, the New Yorker’s fellow Democratic leaders, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, both maintained that such a victory was in their grasp.

“Yes, we think we’re going to take back the House,” Hoyer said.

Israel was less sanguine, drawing a line not at the 25 seats Democrats needed but at a projection made by his Republican counterpart more than one year ago.

“The Republicans said that tonight they were going to win 16 seats. Wrong! We’re not letting ‘em win 16 seats. We’re stopping them in their tracks. We’re gonna gain seats tonight in the House of Representatives,” Israel said.

But even if the results will be a disappointment for Democrats, both Pelosi and Hoyer praised  Israel’s tenure atop the House campaign committee, with Hoyer calling his work “extraordinary” and Pelosi’s a “job well done.”

Pelosi also expressed optimism about how the rest of the evening would play out. “These elections as they unfold across the country will unroll an ever-increasing number of new Democrats who will come to the Congress and join the fight.” The results will exceed “everyone’s expectation and perhaps achieve our drive to 25 [seats],” Pelosi said.

With recent speculation about Pelosi’s future as a backdrop, Hoyer offered lengthy and effusive praise for the Minority Leader.

“We could not have been successful without the leadership, the extraordinary energy, the focus and the extraordinary ability to raise funds for the cause. … I want to congratulate Nancy Pelosi, our leader,” he said.

“I’ve been at this for some period of time. I have never seen anybody with energy, more focus, more self discipline and more effectiveness in conveying the message of our party and ensuring we have the resources to get that message to the American people. Nancy Pelosi, thank you very, very much,” Hoyer said.

Pelosi congratulated Hoyer on winning re-election to his Congressional seat in Maryland.

‘Massive Confusion’ in Pennsylvania, New Jersey a ‘Hot Bed’ of Problems

A representative from the nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition told Roll Call this afternoon that there were reports of “massive confusion” in Pennsylvania, voting-machine problems in Ohio, long lines in southern Virginia, technical problems in Texas and difficulties in New Jersey.

Tanya House, one of the attorneys working with the group, said there are reports that voters in Pennsylvania are showing up at the polls and being told they need photo identification, even though a recent court ruling delayed implementation of the commonwealth’s new voter ID law until after Election Day. Voters there were also receiving mailings as late as Friday that referenced the need for a photo ID.

“Massive confusion in Pennsylvania,” House said. “The state did not do a good job about informing people that they do not have to show photo ID in order to vote. Poll workers are telling them they do and people are being turned away.”

The coalition has received multiple reports of issues with voting machines in Ohio. Voters at multiple precincts there are being directed to cast emergency ballots because of technical problems. The coalition is concerned that these ballots are being placed in the same boxes as provisional ballots, which won’t be counted until 10 days after Election Day.

Though lines in the Virginia suburbs around Washington, D.C., had subsided by midday, House said there were reports of long lines in the southern part of the state.

And near Galveston, Texas, House said there were multiple reports that polling places did not open on time because workers had improperly booted up machines. “Clearly that’s not a voter error, that’s an administrative error” that needs to be remedied, House said.

She also said New Jersey, where voters are struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, is a “hot bed” of reported problems.

The coalition is “trying to get someone on the ground there to assist” voters who are having trouble sending ballots by email and who are being evacuated from their towns on the day they are supposed to vote, House said.

New Jersey announced earlier today that as long as voters requested an application for a mail-in ballot by email or fax by 5 p.m. today, county clerks will continue processing those requests until Friday at noon. The voter must return the special ballot by fax, email or to the appropriate county board of elections by 8 p.m. Friday.

Lines, Provisional Ballots Greet Voters on Election Day

Lines, Provisional Ballots Greet Voters on Election Day

Crowds line up around the block for a long wait to vote at the Noyes Elementary School in Northeast Washington, D.C. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

The lines that greeted early morning voters in Virginia, Ohio and Washington, D.C., today seem to have, by many accounts, subsided until people leave work and there’s another influx at the polls.

Some of the longest lines were reported by District voters at the Columbia Heights Educational Campus on 16th & Irving streets Northwest, where multiple people told Roll Call they waited two or more hours to cast a vote this morning.

Full story

November 2, 2012

Beltway Donors Top Super PAC Givers

Campaign donors from Washington, D.C., have given more money to super PACs in this election cycle than donors from any other city in the United States, according to an analysis released today by MapLight, a nonpartisan group that follows political money.

Inside-the-Beltway donors gave $71.6 million, or 14 percent, of the more than $510 million that super PACs collected through Sept. 30 of this election cycle, MapLight found.

The MapLight ranking belies Washington’s traditional reputation as a relatively marginal center for campaign fundraising. Both GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama have spent more time courting donors in places such as New York City, Dallas and Los Angeles than they have in the nation’s capital.

Unrestricted super PACs, however, appear to be raising large sums from D.C. donors, underscoring how the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling has changed traditional fundraising patterns.

The second-ranking city in terms of super PAC donations was Las Vegas; donors there gave $48.7 million to super PACs, or 9.5 percent of the total. Next came New York City, with donors giving $40.8 million, or just less than 8 percent of the total.

The remaining top-donating cities, in descending order, were Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Little Jackson Hole, Wyo., Detroit and San Francisco. All told, 57 percent of all super PAC donations came from the top 10 cities, MapLight found.

 

November 1, 2012

Michael Bloomberg Endorses Barack Obama Despite ‘Disappointing’ Term

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed President Barack Obama’s re-election today, highlighting the issue of climate change in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, as well as other issues, including health care, abortion and gay rights.

“The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast — in lost lives, lost homes and lost business — brought the stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief,” Bloomberg said in a column on his eponymous news service.

Bloomberg pointed to the hurricane as a sign that the world should act on the climate change issue.

“Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be — given this week’s devastation — should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action,” he said.

Full story

October 31, 2012

Virginia: Tim Kaine Hunting for Few Undecideds Left

Virginia: Tim Kaine Hunting for Few Undecideds Left

Democrat Tim Kaine is running for Senate in Virginia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

ASHLAND, Va. — Former Gov. Tim Kaine spent an hour today in a Democratic town within a heavily Republican county in an effort to encourage his supporters to persuade the remaining undecided voters to vote for him and to increase turnout among Democrats.

Standing on a stage where live bluegrass bands often play, Kaine, who is running against former Gov. George Allen (R) for the state’s open Senate seat, said that 3 percent of voters are probably still undecided. He said “person-to-person contact” is vital at this point in the campaign. Kaine said that more than $20 million in outside money has been spent against him by rich individuals from out of state who can write checks with a lot of zeros, and said he wants to “show there aren’t enough zeros in the world” to beat a grass-roots campaign run by Virginians.

Truman Parmele, the owner of the coffee shop and music venue, said bands play there five nights a week, performing any kind of music but hip-hop. Parmele, 67, said he’s independent, formerly in the Air Force and moderate on social issues. He told Roll Call that Obamacare scares him, and he asked Kaine whether he would support a flat tax. Parmele said Kaine is “very personable” and said he will probably support him.

Full story

October 29, 2012

Campaigns: Save Our Signs!

Campaigns: Save Our Signs!

Early voting at the Washington, D.C., Board of Elections was suspended on Monday because of Hurricane Sandy. Many candidates in the mid-Atlantic region called for supporters to remove their yard signs during the storm as a safety precaution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

During the past two days, a handful of committees and campaigns have sent emails to supporters asking them to put away yard signs as Hurricane Sandy makes landfall.

The guidance was of a safety-first nature, but there was also some strategic value: safety and ensuring that signs will be available once the storm has passed. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) and his challenger, veteran Steve Obsitnik (R), wrote a joint note to supporters.

“A reminder to please bring in lawn signs as a safety precaution,” they wrote. The sentiment was echoed by campaigns throughout New England. But many campaigns urged supporters to hold onto the signs and to roll them out as soon as the storm passed.

“Ever wondered what a 50 mph wind will do to a campaign sign? Let’s not find out!” Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers’ (R) team wrote to his supporters. “If you have lawn signs out, please bring them in until Sandy blows over. We’ll need the support once the storm rolls out of town.”

An added note on campaigns working around Sandy: Don’t expect ads to be pulled from television airwaves. Sources say that doing so at this point in the election cycle would be politically untenable.

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