Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 26, 2014

April 10, 2013

Michigan: Republican Cardiologist Steele Considers Senate Run

Cardiologist Rob Steele is considering a bid for the open Senate seat in Michigan in 2014, according to a local source with direct knowledge of his interest.

Steele is best-known among Republicans for his 2010 bid against longtime Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich. During that campaign, Steele picked up former Alaska Republican Gov. Sarah Palin’s endorsement and gave national Democrats a brief scare that Dingell could lose his safe Democratic seat. Steele lost by 17 points.

(See also in Roll Call: Johnson Retirement Gives Senate GOP Another Opportunity)

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Illinois: Republican Preps for Foster Challenge With D.C. Trip

Illinois: Republican Preps for Foster Challenge With D.C. Trip

Foster, right, is close to getting a GOP challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

State Rep. Darlene Senger will meet with Republicans in Washington, D.C., this week in preparation to challenge Democratic Rep. Bill Foster next year.

Senger will sit down with staff at the National Republican Congressional Committee, as well as with House GOP leadership and U.S. Chamber of Commerce officials, according to a knowledgeable Illinois Republican.

She is also scheduled to speak with several Illinois members, including GOP Reps. Adam Kinzinger, Rodney Davis, Peter Roskam, Randy Hultgren and John Shimkus. Full story

North Carolina: Ellmers Will Decide on Hagan Challenge in June

North Carolina: Ellmers Will Decide on Hagan Challenge in June

Hagan is vulnerable in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The GOP field to challenge Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan will likely take shape in June, local Republican operatives say.

Most notably, GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers — who is currently weighing whether to challenge one of the cycle’s most vulnerable Democratic senators — said through an aide that she hopes to have a decision then.

“Congresswoman Ellmers is praying about it, discussing it with supporters and monitoring how things develop,” Ellmers campaign spokeswoman Jessica Wood told CQ Roll Call. “She expects to have a decision in June.”

(See also in Roll Call: Rothenberg: Most Vulnerable of ’14? Pryor by a Hair ) Full story

April 9, 2013

Illinois: Democrat Kelly Wins Special Election to Replace Jackson

Illinois: Democrat Kelly Wins Special Election to Replace Jackson

Kelly won a first term on Tuesday in the special election to replace Jackson. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly won the special election to replace former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. on Tuesday.

Kelly, a Democrat, defeated Republican Paul McKinley, 89 percent to 6.6 percent, with 19.8 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

Her victory came as no surprise. The 2nd District is heavily Democratic and Kelly had minimal opposition in the general election. McKinley is a convicted felon, according to numerous news outlets.

(See also in Roll Call: Obama Endorses Robin Kelly in Special Election (Finally))

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Remainders: #BluegrassGate

Remainders: #BluegrassGate

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Maybe you were hiding under a rock today. Or stuck in multiple, hours-long meetings. Or outside enjoying the unseasonably nice Washington, D.C., weather.

In any case, here is a timeline to catch you up on the hottest political story of the day involving Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and #BluegrassGate:

Stay tuned, folks. This is just starting to get good.

West Virginia: Club for Growth Invites Capito Challenger to Meet

The Club for Growth has not met with Rep. Shelley Moore Capito’s new GOP opponent for Senate yet, but it’s definitely interested in getting to know him better.

Chris Chocola, president of the deep-pocketed conservative group, reached out to former state Del. Pat McGeehan over Twitter on Tuesday — just hours after he announced that he’s challenging Capito, the heavy GOP favorite in the race and a club target:

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McConnell Compares Campaign Recording to Nixon’s Watergate

McConnell Compares Campaign Recording to Nixons Watergate

McConnell responded to the secret recording. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In his first public comments on the subject, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell likened the secret recording of one of his campaign’s strategy sessions to the Watergate scandal that ultimately led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation.

“Last week they were attacking my wife’s ethnicity and apparently also bugging my headquarters, much like Nixon and Watergate,” said McConnell in a Tuesday afternoon news conference. “That’s what the political left does these days.”

The Kentucky Republican’s response echoed statements his campaign had released Tuesday morning in response to a Mother Jones report that published the recorded conversation at his campaign office.

(See also in Roll Call: McConnell Fundraises Off Secret Recording)

Full story

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 2:56 p.m.
Ky. Senate

North Carolina: Rouzer Announces Rematch Against McIntyre

North Carolina: Rouzer Announces Rematch Against McIntyre

Rouzer will seek a rematch against McIntyre in North Carolina. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After losing by one of the smallest margins in the country last year, former state Sen. David Rouzer officially announced Tuesday that he will seek a rematch against Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C.

Rouzer, who previously said he intended to run again, is hoping to take out one of the most vulnerable House Democrats of the cycle. McIntyre is one of nine Democrats who represent a district President Barack Obama lost in 2012.

(See also on Roll Call: DCCC Announces 26 Members on Frontline Incumbent Retention Program) Full story

Kentucky: McConnell Fundraises Off Secret Recording

Kentucky: McConnell Fundraises Off Secret Recording

McConnell is fundraising for re-election. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign is raising money off a secret recording of their February strategy meetings — as the Kentucky Republican’s aides reached out to the FBI to investigate it.

“Breaking: Liberals Wiretap McConnell’s Office: Stand with Senator McConnell against the liberal media’s illegal and underhanded tactics,” reads the fundraising page from McConnell’s campaign, referring to the recording that appeared in Mother Jones on Tuesday.

McConnell’s campaign, known as “Team Mitch,” launched a promoted tweet Tuesday morning that sends supporters to a new page on the campaign website where donations can be made.

“The liberal left is exposed for illegally wiretapping our campaign HQ,” the campaign wrote on Twitter. “Stand with Sen. McConnell against this.”

(See also in Roll Call: McConnell Campaign Notified FBI About Secret Recording)

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South Carolina: Colbert Busch Targets Female Voters in First Spot Against Sanford

Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch aired her first general election television advertisement on Tuesday, kicking off the imminent airwaves war against former GOP Gov. Mark Sanford in the 1st District special election.

Busch speaks directly to camera in the 30-second spot, describing herself as a “single mom with three young children.” She never mentions Sanford in the advertisement, which appears to target female voters.

(See also in Roll Call: South Carolina 1st District Poll: It’s All About Context)

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Kentucky: McConnell Campaign Notified FBI About Secret Recording

Kentucky: McConnell Campaign Notified FBI About Secret Recording

McConnell will seek re-election. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:15 a.m. | Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s, R-Ky., re-election campaign says they are working with the FBI to take action against a secret recording taken at the campaign headquarters and published in Mother Jones on Tuesday.

The recording revealed a campaign strategy session during which McConnell and his campaign aides plotted to run against potential opponents — including actress and activist Ashley Judd, who decided against a bid last month.

“Senator McConnell’s campaign is working with the FBI and has notified the local U.S. Attorney in Louisville, per FBI request, about these recordings,” McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton said in a statement. “Obviously a recording device of some kind was placed in Senator McConnell’s campaign office without consent. By whom and how that was accomplished will presumably be the subject of a criminal investigation.”

Updated 11:15 a.m.

“We’ve always said the Left would stop at nothing to attack Sen. McConnell, but Watergate-style tactics to bug campaign headquarters are above and beyond,” Benton added.

(See also in Roll Call: Goodbye, Ashley Judd? Why McConnell Might Be More Worried)

Full story

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 10:35 a.m.
Ky. Senate

EMILY’s List Adds Six to House GOP Target List

EMILY’s List will add six House GOP members to its “On Notice” status Tuesday, signaling the group will make each of them a priority target in 2014:

  • Joe Heck in Nevada’s 3rd District
  • John Kline in Minnesota’s 2nd District
  • Tom Latham in Iowa’s 3rd District
  • Tom Reed in New York’s 23rd District
  • Scott Tipton in Colorado’s 3rd District
  • David Valadao in California’s 21st District

Full story

April 8, 2013

Illinois: Kelly a Shoo-In for Special Election

Illinois: Kelly a Shoo In for Special Election

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats expect Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly to coast to Congress in Tuesday’s special election.

They’re confident in part because her GOP rival, Paul McKinley, is a convicted felon, according to numerous reports.

Also, the 2nd District, which includes Chicago’s south side and suburbs, traditionally elects Democrats by a wide margin. Former Democratic Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. won re-election there with at least 80 percent of the vote in all but one of his elections. Jackson resigned a few days after the 2012 election in the face of a corruption investigation, spurring a special election to replace him earlier this year.

In February, Kelly won a contested Democratic primary for his seat, defeating former Rep. Debbie Halvorson. Much credit for Kelly’s win went to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. His super PAC invested more than $2 million to boost Kelly in the primary because she supported gun control measures.

Polls close Tuesday at 7 p.m. Central time.

Arizona: Ex-ASU Quarterback Files to Challenge Sinema

Arizona: Ex ASU Quarterback Files to Challenge Sinema

Sinema has already attracted a couple of GOP challengers. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Arizona State University quarterback Andrew Walter filed a statement of candidacy last week to challenge freshman Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.

The Arizona Capitol Times first posted the news on Monday that Walter had formed a campaign committee. He is a credit analyst at MidFirst Bank and an owner at an eponymous LLC, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Full story

California: Panetta Fundraising for Farr as Son Eyes His Seaside Seat

California: Panetta Fundraising for Farr as Son Eyes His Seaside Seat

Farr will seek re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta will headline a June fundraiser for Democratic Rep. Sam Farr in the coastal California district that the former congressman’s son is now eyeing.

The June 8 Pacific Grove event will commemorate the 20th anniversary of Farr’s special-election victory to replace Panetta, who had resigned from the House to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Meanwhile, James Panetta, a Monterey County deputy district attorney, said recently he is considering running for his father’s former seat when Farr, 71, retires. Farr filed for re-election five months ago and is planning to serve at least one more term.

(See also in Roll Call: Many Democrats Size Up Increasingly Tempting House Seats in California)

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