Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
May 26, 2015

October 21, 2013

GOP Retirement Sparks Competitive House Race in Arkansas

Griffin will not seek a third term. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two-term Rep. Tim Griffin’s unexpected retirement announcement will likely spur a crowded GOP primary for a competitive seat that Democrats hope to pick up in 2014.

Democrats had been targeting Arkansas’ 2nd District even before the Republican lawmaker announced Monday he wasn’t running for re-election. On Sunday, Griffin alerted GOP leadership of his retirement after just two terms in the House, according to a national Republican operative.

Hours after Griffin’s announcement, local Republican operatives say there are now a host of potentially strong candidates eyeing bids to succeed him. Some of those GOP candidates are: Full story

Democratic Super PAC Ad Hits Congressman for Shutdown Vote

A Democratic super PAC hit the airwaves Monday with an ad attacking Rep. Steve Southerland II, criticizing the vulnerable Florida Republican for voting against last week’s bill that ended the government shutdown.

House Majority PAC, which aims to support House candidates, put $70,000 behind the two-week ad television buy.

Full story

Club for Growth Boosts Senate GOP Primary Challenger on TV

The Club for Growth will hit the Mississippi television airwaves Tuesday to boost a GOP primary challenger to Sen. Thad Cochran.

The conservative group’s ad — which comes from its political action arm — declines to mention Cochran, who has not yet announced whether he is seeking re-election. Instead, it introduces his challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, to the state and sells him as “the new strong, conservative leader Mississippi needs in the U.S. Senate.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5ibFxp2CcQ Full story

Tim Griffin to Retire After 2 Terms (Updated)

Griffin will not return to Congress after 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two-term Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., announced Monday that he will not seek a third term in the House, according to a local news outlet.

Griffin, who was elected in 2010 in the tea party wave, told Talk Business Arkansas that he decided not to run in order to spend more time with his family, including his son, who was seen around the Capitol during the shutdown debate.

Full story

October 19, 2013

Riser, McAllister Advance to Runoff in Louisiana House Special Election

GOP state Sen. Neil Riser and Republican businessman Vance McAllister advanced to a runoff Saturday night in a special election in Louisiana’s 5th District, rising above a crowded field of 14 candidates from all over the political spectrum.

Riser received 33 percent, with 88 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press. McAllister captured the second spot in the runoff, garnering 18 percent.

This is the contest to replace former Rep. Rodney Alexander, who resigned in September to take a job in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s cabinet.

Full story

October 18, 2013

Bill Young Dies at Age 82 (Updated)

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 8:06 p.m. | Rep. C.W. Bill Young, the longtime Florida Republican who announced his retirement last week, died Friday after a long hospital stay due to a back injury. He was 82.

“U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young (FL-13) passed away this evening at The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the company of his family,” said a statement from his family. “The cause of death was complications related to a chronic injury. Information on services will be forthcoming.”

Young, the longest-serving Republican in the House, has been receiving rehabilitation for his back at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He announced his retirement last week, telling the Tampa Bay Times, “It’s time.”

Full story

Special Teams: The Louisiana House Special

In less than 24 hours, voters will go to the polls to choose a successor to former Rep. Rodney Alexander of Louisiana’s 5th District.

Both state and national operatives are involved in the crowded field. The race is highly unpredictable and the possibility of a Democrat making the runoff is not altogether impossible. But because this seat is rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call, CQ Roll Call profiled the teams behind the GOP campaigns.

Polls close at 8 p.m. Central Daylight Time on Saturday. The anticipated runoff will be Nov. 16.

Here is who is involved in the race, in alphabetical order by candidate: Full story

Cruz-Aligned Group Endorses McConnell Challenger

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Conservatives Fund, a group Sen. Ted Cruz helped raise money for by appearing in an anti-Obamacare ad, has for the second time in two days endorsed a challenger to a Republican senator — this time the minority leader of the Senate.

The move was not surprising — the Jim DeMint-founded group announced Friday that it will support Louisville businessman Matt Bevin’s uphill primary battle against Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. On Thursday, the SCF endorsed state Sen. Chris McDaniel’s primary challenge to Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.

The endorsements are the latest addition to an increasingly awkward position for Cruz, the Texas Republican who serves as a vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which supports all incumbents, including McConnell. Full story

House Democrats Break Fundraising Record in September

Israel is the DCCC chairman. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced on Friday that it raised $8.4 million in September, a record monthly haul for the committee.

The fundraising haul brings the DCCC’s total cash on hand to $21.6 million, double the amount of cash it had at the same point last year, according to a DCCC aide. Full story

October 17, 2013

Tea Party Candidate Challenges Thad Cochran

Cochran is considering retirement. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel announced Thursday afternoon that he will challenge six-term Sen. Thad Cochran, potentially setting up a dynamic and divisive GOP primary in the Magnolia State in 2014.

McDaniel kicks off his bid with support from several national conservative groups, including the Club for Growth, Senate Conservatives Fund and the Madison Project.

The seat is safely in GOP hands, but Cochran is still mum on whether he will seek re-election. He’s said he will make a decision by the end of the year. A longtime appropriator, Cochran has leveraged his seniority to bring home funds for decades.

Full story

October 16, 2013

Cory Booker Elected Senator in New Jersey

Booker greets a supporter after casting his own vote in the special election. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the Twitter star with a Rolodex of Hollywood contacts, was elected to the Senate on Wednesday following a New Jersey special election campaign that lacked suspense.

After leading in the polls by double digits for the duration, the Democrat handily defeated conservative activist Steve Lonegan. The Associated Press called the race for Booker with 55 percent of precincts reporting, and the mayor ahead 55 percent to 44 percent.

Booker will fill the remaining term of the late Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J. The senator’s June 3 death led to the interim appointment of Republican Jeff Chiesa and a special election four months later.

The rise to the Senate is the latest move for a politician whose ambitions are believed to reach even higher. He has already been mentioned as a potential vice presidential running mate in 2016. Full story

Challenger Knocks McConnell for Forging Senate Shutdown Deal

McConnell will seek re-election in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s GOP primary challenger jumped on the news that the incumbent helped craft a deal that would reopen the federal government and extend the debt limit.

Louisville businessman Matt Bevin has criticized McConnell’s conservative credentials and argued that the minority leader had not adequately led the charge to defund President Barack Obama’s health care law. That ultimate effort  prompted the recent budget stalemate, but the urgency of the debt limit led to a bipartisan deal that was announced Wednesday on the Senate floor.

In an extensive statement, Bevin said McConnell “can always be counted on to sell out conservatives.” Full story

Democrats Recruiting Challenger to Bentivolio in Michigan

Democrats may have landed a candidate to run for the House seat currently occupied by Republican Rep. Kerry Bentivolio.

Interim Wayne State University Law School Dean Jocelyn Benson attended Wednesday’s House Democratic Caucus meeting and told attendees she is considering a run for the seat, according to two Democratic sources.

One of the sources said that House Democrats had unsuccessfully attempted to recruit her in the past, but the current government shutdown is a source of motivation for her run.

Bentivolio is in potential re-election trouble in both the primary and the general. In September, attorney David Trott announced he would challenge the incumbent in the primary.

Bentivolio produced a grim Federal Election Commission report this week — he raised just $59,000 — but he picked up several local endorsements over the past two days.

Five state party vice-chairmen endorsed Bentivolio on Tuesday, according to his Facebook page. Also, Michigan Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema endorsed Bentivolio on Wednesday, per a news release.

The race is rated Favored Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Ring, Ring: Dems Make It Easy to Call GOP to Complain About Shutdown (Updated)

Israel is the chairman of the DCCC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:09 p.m. | Ring, Ring: It’s the voters.

This week, House Democrats have started a round of automated phone calls that allow recipients to connect directly to the campaign offices of their Republican opponents. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will target 16 GOP challengers in competitive districts with the calls, according to a party source.

The political benefits of this tactic are unclear. But it has the potential to be pretty annoying.

Callers are read a negative profile of the Republican that accuses him or her of supporting the shutdown. Then the caller is given the option to be transferred to the GOP candidate’s campaign to tell their office that “the shutdown is hurting our families” and the candidate “shouldn’t be part of the problem.”

Here are the targeted GOP challengers:

Full story

DSCC Outraised NRSC in September

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised more money than its Republican counterpart in September, increasing its fundraising advantage for the year to $13 million.

The DSCC raised $4.6 million last month and ended September with more than $10 million in cash on hand, the committee announced on Wednesday. A committee spokesman said the DSCC has also paid down its debt to $7.5 million.

Full story

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