Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 20, 2014

June 26, 2013

Crowded Race Forms for Markey’s House Seat #MA05

Special elections in the Bay State might not be that special anymore.

Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey defeated GOP nominee Gabriel Gomez in Tuesday’s special election for former Sen. John Kerry’s seat. His victory kicks off yet another special contest to fill the seat he’ll vacate in the 5th District — the third special election in as many years in Massachusetts.

Starting months ago, a handful of Democrats announced their candidacies for this imminent House race. That’s because, in part, open seats are rare in the commonwealth’s congressional delegation. Markey held his deep-blue seat in the Boston suburbs since 1976.

Full story

Iowa, Illinois GOP Chairmen Form New Firm | Shop Talk

Two former state GOP chairmen announced on Tuesday they formed a new Chicago-based venture, New Generation Public Affairs Inc.

Former Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn and former Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady joined with Chicago-area businessman Bob Fitzsimmons to create the new firm that will, according to a release, “have a distinctive upper Midwest focus and initial offices in Chicago and Des Moines.”

Their announcement comes about a month after Brady resigned from his post following his declaration of support for same-sex marriage — an announcement that angered some local party members. After three productive years at the state party, Strawn left his role earlier this year in the midst of continued fallout from the GOP’s handling of the Iowa caucuses.

The three principals’ portfolios will include: Full story

June 25, 2013

Markey Wins Senate Special Election #MASEN

Markey Wins Senate Special Election #MASEN

(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After more than 36 years representing Massachusetts in the House, Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey will be the commonwealth’s next senator.

Backed by millions of dollars in air and ground support from national Democrats, the eighth-longest-tenured House member succeeded in holding the seat of Democrat John Kerry, who resigned to become secretary of State earlier this year.

In Tuesday’s special election, The Associated Press called the race for Markey with 82 percent of precincts reporting. At that point, Markey led Republican Gabriel Gomez, 54 percent to 45 percent. Full story

Cory Booker Airs First TV Ad #NJSEN

Newark Mayor Cory Booker went on the air Tuesday with his first television ad in the special election for Senate in New Jersey.

His first spot, “Run,” is a positive one that touts his record as mayor.

Full story

4 Effects of Voting Rights Ruling on 2014 Midterms

The Supreme Court’s landmark ruling to gut the 1965 Voting Rights Act will change the country’s politics. And in some cases, the change could come as soon as 2014.

On the surface, the ruling now allows certain states to make changes to their voting laws without federal approval. But the political implications will reach beyond those states, especially as Democrats try to use the decision to energize minority voters for the midterm elections.

On Tuesday, the high court ruled unconstitutional a key part, Section 4, of the Voting Rights Act. That provision detailed the formula used to decide which states must have pre-clearance from the federal government before making changes to voting laws because, according to the now-voided provision, those jurisdictions had a history of discrimination.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. described the Section 4 coverage formula as outdated in his majority opinion, calling on Congress to develop a new way to pick which states must get federal approval. But it’s unlikely the House and Senate will pass something soon, given the contentious nature of voting rights and the gridlock on Capitol Hill.

As a result, it’s likely no state will have to seek federal approval to change its voting laws in the immediate future.

To be sure, the high court’s ruling will have a greater effect in the long term. For example, in 2020, states previously covered by the law’s Section 5 won’t have to get federal approval for their redrawn congressional maps, giving local officials new leeway to draw district boundaries. Those new maps will take effect in 2022.

But voters could see the effects of this week’s ruling much sooner as well. Here are four ways the ruling could play into the 2014 midterms: Full story

James Carville Fundraises for Embattled Democrat #FL26

Democratic strategist James Carville authored a fundraising solicitation for freshman Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., a couple of weeks after the congressman’s  former chief of staff resigned over a political scandal.

Carville made no mention of the aide’s issues, portraying Garcia as a likely future victim of Republican super PACs in the Tuesday morning missive. Garcia has denied any involvement in his former aide’s legal woes. Full story

GOP Lawmaker Challenges Loebsack #IA02

GOP Lawmaker Challenges Loebsack #IA02

Loebsack has a new GOP challenger. (Tricia Miller/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

State Rep. Mark Lofgren, a Republican, announced Tuesday that he will challenge four-term Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, in the 2nd District, according to local reports.

Lofgren marks Loebsack’s first challenger, but news reports say that Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks is eyeing a run as well.

Full story

Pro-McConnell Super PAC Hits Airwaves #KYSEN

A super PAC supporting the re-election of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell launched its first TV ad of the cycle on Tuesday.

The $260,000 ad buy from Kentuckians for Strong Leadership targets a prospective McConnell challenger, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who has yet to announce whether she will run. The ad ties Grimes to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama.

Watch “Rubber Stamp” here:

Full story

Supreme Court Strikes Key Parts of Voting Rights Law (Updated)

The Supreme Court has ruled key parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act as unconstitutional, dealing a disappointing decision to minority voting rights activists and asking Congress to develop new guidelines for the landmark law.

The high court nixed Section 4 of the law, which established a formula for certain states to seek federal approval before making any changes to their voting requirements or laws under Section 5. Those covered jurisdictions had a history of racial discrimination when the law was first passed 5o years ago.

But on Monday, in a 5-4 ruling along ideological lines, the justices deemed that part of the law unconstitutional because the coverage formula is outdated. Full story

By Shira T. Center Posted at 10:25 a.m.
Uncategorized

Shake-Up at Indiana GOP | Shop Talk

Shake Up at Indiana GOP | Shop Talk

Pence is the governor of Indiana. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

The Indiana Republican Party will undergo incredible change in the next few weeks as several of its top officials — including Chairman Eric Holcomb — leave the organization.

Holcomb abruptly announced his intent to depart the state GOP last week, along with several of his top lieutenants. A day later, Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., announced that Holcomb would become his new state chief of staff. Read more about the turnover in Roll Call’s weekly Shop Talk column.

Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican, will likely pick on Holcomb’s successor and state party members will approve that selection by vote. Those in the running include: Full story

Massachusetts Officials Project Low Turnout #MASEN

There’s no telling whether the Boston Bruins’ stunning loss in the Stanley Cup Finals on Monday night will further depress turnout in Tuesday’s Senate special election, but experts have already predicted a record low number of voters will go to the polls.

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin said at a press conference on Monday that he expects about 1.6 million voters to participate in the race between Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey and the Republican nominee, Gabriel Gomez. Polls opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 8 p.m.

(See also in Roll Call: Gomez Loss Would Bump Bay State Off GOP’s Map)

The 37 percent turnout projection is based on the hot weather, the relatively few number of calls to the state election office and hits on its website, and the fact that only 64,000 absentee ballots were requested. Galvin’s projection for the April 30 primaries turned out to be too high, according to spokesman Brian McNiff. Full story

Inouye’s Legacy in the Hawaii Special Election #HISEN

Inouyes Legacy in the Hawaii Special Election #HISEN

Inouye's legacy lives on with his staff. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There is no question that the Inouye name will have a presence in next year’s Hawaii Senate special election; the only question is how much it will affect the race.

Irene Hirano Inouye, the widow of the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii, endorsed Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in the Democratic primary back in May. And on Monday, Inouye signed her name to an EMILY’s List email asking for donations for Hanabusa’s bid against appointed Sen. Brian Schatz.

“I have full confidence that Colleen will serve Hawai’i in the way the people deserve — with honorable leadership and continued respect,” Inouye said in the email. “This is not the time for on-the-job-training.”

Meanwhile, Peter Boylan, a former deputy chief of staff to Inouye, said last week that he would be helping Hanabusa’s campaign as a spokesman. And the Honolulu Civil Beat reported Monday that former Inouye Chief of Staff Jennifer Sabas will also help Hanabusa’s campaign. Full story

June 24, 2013

Gomez Loss Would Bump Bay State off GOP’s Map

Gomez Loss Would Bump Bay State off GOPs Map

Markey, above, holds a sizable lead over his opponent in recent polls on the Bay State's Senate special election. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If Republicans lose on Tuesday for the second time in the past seven months, the Bay State’s short run as a stomping ground for competitive Senate races will come to an abrupt halt.

Former Sen. Scott P. Brown’s surprise win started it all in 2010, but GOP nominee Gabriel Gomez appears unlikely to pull off an encore performance in the special election to replace Secretary of State John Kerry. In recent days, polls showed Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey with a sizable lead over Gomez in the state’s third Senate race in as many years.

A Gomez loss, especially by a double-digit margin, would offer GOP donors, operatives and prospective statewide candidates for federal office even less incentive to expend the time and resources needed to win Massachusetts in 2014. The defeat would also further highlight the GOP’s recent disappearing act among New England’s congressional delegations. Full story

Hoyer Backs Margolies Comeback #PA13

Hoyer Backs Margolies Comeback #PA13

Hoyer endorsed his former colleague in a primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Marjorie Margolies, D-Pa., has picked up the endorsement of the No. 2 House Democrat for her comeback bid in Pennsylvania’s 13th District.

On Monday, House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer endorsed Margolies, who served with Hoyer in the House for one term. The Maryland Democrat described Margolies as “one of the most hard-working and courageous individuals I ever served with in Congress” in a statement from her campaign.

In 1993, Margolies cast the 218th vote to pass then-President Bill Clinton’s deficit reduction plan. Her vote ultimately cost Margolies re-election the next year.

Full story

Final Poll: Markey Leads by Double Digits in Special Election #MASEN

Final Poll: Markey Leads by Double Digits in Special Election #MASEN

Markey's campaign leads in every public poll. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., leads by 10 points in a new poll released one day before the Bay State special election for Senate.

Markey took 52 percent in the Suffolk University survey, while Republican nominee Gabriel Gomez took 42 percent, and 4 percent of voters said they were still undecided. Full story

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