Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 4, 2015

November 13, 2013

‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Cuts Ad for Louisiana House Hopeful

Willie Robertson, a reality television show celebrity on the popular “Duck Dynasty” series, will star in a new kind of program starting Thursday: a campaign television spot for Louisiana’s 5th District special election.

In the advertisement, Robertson proclaims his support for GOP businessman Vance McAllister, the underdog in Saturday’s contest.

“Hey this is Willie Robertson, reminding you to get out Saturday, Nov. 16 and vote for my good buddy Vance McAllister. Let’s send somebody from the 5th District who speaks for us to help turn Washington around,” Robertson says in the ad, produced by RedPrint Strategy.

http://youtu.be/MupSbApjNrE Full story

Schweitzer Not Helping Senate Democrats With Montana Primary

 

Schweitzer is in the middle of a new Senate primary in Montana. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Former Montana Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger’s decision to seek the Democratic Senate nomination invited a primary the party didn’t want to have — and pushed a former player in that race back into the picture: former Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

Schweitzer, who turned down the chance to run for the open seat, spoke with his former lieutenant before Bohlinger’s announcement last week. But Montana Democratic sources said he declined pleas from state party leaders to dissuade Bohlinger from running, with Lt. Gov. John Walsh already in the race.

In a phone interview with CQ Roll Call on Tuesday, Schweitzer said only that he had “conversations” with Bohlinger about “the good, the bad and the ugly” about the Senate and Washington, D.C. He thinks both Democrats would make “very good senators” and could defeat likely GOP nominee Rep. Steve Daines, but deciding the nominee is up to Montana voters.

In his trademark brashness, Schweitzer also claimed some credit for the fight.

“In fact, I guess I’m responsible since I plucked both of them from obscurity,” Schweitzer said. “To ask me to pick favorites is like asking a father to pick his favorite son.” Full story

November 12, 2013

Iowa’s GOP Senate Field Grows Again

Iowa Businessman Mark Jacobs will enter the open-seat Iowa Senate race next week, according to a local news outlet, making him the seventh Republican to join a crowded GOP field.

Jacobs, who has been exploring a bid for the seat since June, will make the announcement Nov. 19 at a series of events across the state.

Full story

A Former Congressman’s Under-the-Radar Comeback Bid

Canseco is running for his former seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco filed his statement of candidacy in December to take back the most competitive House district in the Lone Star State.

But nearly a year later, the Republican’s comeback bid against Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Texas., remains something of a mystery to Texas GOP operatives.

So far, Canseco’s campaign has consisted of low five-figure fundraising reports, a Facebook account that was dormant until August and a handful of campaign emails over the past few months. That same Facebook page advertised his first campaign event on Oct. 13.

The order of events marked one of the softest campaign launches from a former member in recent memory. But in a Tuesday phone interview with CQ Roll Call, Canseco said he was fired up for the race. Full story

Gingrey Vows to Repeal Obamacare in First Term or ‘Go Home’

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Phil Gingrey, one of more than a half-dozen Republicans running for Georgia’s open Senate seat in 2014, vowed to repeal Obamacare in his first term as a senator or “go home.”

The six-term Georgia Republican made the promise in a television advertisement released Tuesday. Gingrey, a physician, is backing the 30-second spot with a six-figure buy to run for 10 days in Georgia’s four largest media markets, according to his spokesman.

“As a doctor, I took an oath to do no harm. And Obamacare is so harmful, I voted to repeal or defund it over 40 times,” Gingrey, wearing his white doctor’s coat, says in the ad. “But our efforts die in the Senate. I’ll help repeal Obamacare in my first term, or go home.”

Full story

New Dem Poll Shows McConnell in Tight Race

McConnell is up for re-election in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

As a new poll showed a tight race in Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell held a news conference in Louisville to press for the repeal of the health care overhaul and tie his opponent to the Senate Democrats who voted for it.

The poll, conducted by Democratic firm Lake Research Partners for MoveOn.org’s political action arm, found McConnell and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes tied at 37 percent in a potential general-election matchup. It’s the latest evidence that the Bluegrass State will be among the top races of 2014.

Speaking behind a podium at his campaign headquarters, McConnell said Democrats essentially took a “meat ax” to the country’s health care system with the new law and are now panicked over the repercussions. After referring to the health care website’s troubles, he noted that 15 Democrats up for re-election next year met with the president at the White House last week to discuss the law. Full story

Cochran to Reveal Future Plans by End of the Month

Cochran will announce a decision by the end of the month about his political future. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., will decide whether he will seek re-election by the end of the month, according to a local news station.

Cochran, 73, has publicly waffled about whether he will run for another term. The senator’s low fundraising hauls only fueled speculation the six-term Mississippi Republican is eyeing retirement.

Full story

November 11, 2013

McCotter Claims Aide Was Bribed to ‘Sabotage’ His Career

Former Rep. Thad McCotter, the Michigan Republican who resigned last year after aides submitted forged nominating petitions, now alleges one aide was bribed to sabotage the congressman’s political career.

In a complaint filed with a local U.S. bankruptcy court, McCotter alleges his former aide, Don Yowchuang, was “motivated by the promise of financial gain” when he submitted nominating petitions for the then-congressman’s re-election with duplicate signatures, according to The Detroit News.

Full story

Conservative Groups Divided in Nebraska Senate Race

Osborn got an endorsement today. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a display of the unpredictability of the race, conservative groups are falling on opposite sides of the Republican Senate primary in Nebraska.

FreedomWorks, a tea-party-affiliated group that has backed candidates like Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced Monday that it has endorsed former state Treasurer Shane Osborn. Full story

McKeon Challenger Sees Advantages in Open-Seat Race (Video)

The candidate: Podiatrist Lee Rogers, a Democrat.
The member: Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, a Republican.
The district:
 California’s 25th District, which McKeon has held since 1992.
The candidate’s team:
Bill Wachob of The Campaign Group (general consultant and media), Eric Hogensen of HSG Campaigns (direct mail), Jonathan Brown of Global Strategy Group (polling), Adam Nashban (fundraising and strategy).

Podiatrist Lee Rogers, a Democrat, views an open-seat race as advantageous in his second attempt for Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon’s 25th District in California.

“There will be more attention on the district if it’s an open seat,” Rogers said in an Oct. 11 interview with CQ Roll Call. “This is one that already shows [McKeon] to be vulnerable. I think more attention is probably good for the challenger.”

Insiders have speculated this could be the top Republican’s last term in Congress, although his aide said in April he has no plans to retire. President Barack Obama lost the district by a slim margin in 2012, which makes Democrats optimistic they could compete there if McKeon leaves.

Full story

November 8, 2013

Ayotte: Scott Brown Would Be ‘Very Strong Candidate’ for Senate in N.H.

Ayotte praised Brown's work in the Senate (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Boston Globe reported Friday that national Republicans are actively recruiting former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown to run again — this time in New Hampshire.

With former Rep. Charles Bass the latest Republican to take a pass on the Senate race, the party is still in search of a top-tier challenger to take on Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran told the Globe that despite the speculation that Brown is simply flirting with a bid, he doesn’t think the former senator “is just fooling around.”

Of course, a successful Brown Senate bid would be nearly unprecedented. Just two senators have ever represented more than one state in the Senate, and it hasn’t happened since the 1870s, according to a list maintained by the Senate Historical Office.

“It will be uphill, no question about it, for him,” former Rep. Jeb Bradley, who also took a pass on this race, told CQ Roll Call. “But I think he’s certainly got as good a chance as any Republican that I can think of to be successful.”

New Hampshire’s other senator echoed that sentiment, believing that Brown would help expand the Senate landscape into New England. Full story

Biden Tops Michigan Democrat’s List of Pols to Bolster House Bid (Video)

The candidate: Former state Rep. Pam Byrnes, a Democrat.
The member: Rep. Tim Walberg, a Republican.
The district:
Michigan’s 7th District, which favored GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, but only by 3 points.
The candidate’s team:
Al Quinlan of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (polling), Martha McKenna and Jennifer Pihlaja of McKenna Pihlaja (media), Terry Walsh of The Strategy Group (mail), Karen Defilippi (campaign manager)

http://youtu.be/T3T84bq2WCU

Former state Rep. Pam Byrnes, a Democrat, faces an uphill battle in unseating Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., in Michigan’s 7th District. But there’s at least one national Democrat that Byrnes thinks could help sway the vote her way.

“I think [Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.] would relate to the people very well,” she said in an Oct. 10 interview with CQ Roll Call. “He is a very personable guy. I’ve met him before and I believe he could connect with people and help me.” Full story

November 7, 2013

Howard Coble Announces Retirement

Coble will leave Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., announced Thursday he will retire at the end of his term, creating an opening in his strong Republican district for the first time in 30 years.

Coble, who was first elected to North Carolina’s 6th District in 1985, cited his failing health as the reason why he will step down. Earlier this year, the 82-year-old was rushed to George Washington University Hospital from the Capitol to undergo emergency hernia surgery.

Coble cited back pain and skin cancer as the main reasons for his retirement, saying his health would prohibit him from the long hours needed to campaign. But he stressed, “Mentally and emotionally I am stable and reliable,” to the audience watching his announcement in Greensboro, N.C.

Full story

Club for Growth Makes Endorsement in Nebraska GOP Primary

The Club for Growth is taking sides in the GOP Senate primary in Nebraska, where a competitive nomination battle has unfolded for a safely Republican seat.

On Thursday, the club’s political action arm announced its endorsement of Midland University President Ben Sasse, one of a handful of Republicans running for the state’s open seat. In a statement, Club for Growth President Chris Chocola highlighted Sasse’s outspoken opposition to President Barack Obama’s health care law, which stems from Sasse’s experience as an assistant secretary at Health and Human Services.

Ben Sasse is the rare candidate who can clearly and forcefully prosecute the case against ObamaCare, not only because it’s an unconstitutional assault on our liberty, but also because he’s read every word of it,” Chocola said. Full story

November 6, 2013

Democrat to Announce Campaign for Runyan’s Seat

While New Jersey operatives continued to process Tuesday’s election results, Republican Rep. Jon Runyan’s surprise retirement announcement in the 3rd District set off swirls of speculation of who could run for his seat.

Democrats already indicated they wanted to target the seat, but an open-seat race gives the party a much better opportunity to win it. Upon the Runyan announcement, the Rothenberberg Political Report quickly moved the seat from Safe Republican to Tossup.

Democrats are circulating two names as potential candidates for the seat — the most prominent of which is Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard. She filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission in mid-October and, according to a news release, is scheduled to announce her campaign on Thursday.

Full story

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