Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 6, 2016

April 8, 2014

NRSC Raised $6.4 Million in March for Elections

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, is encouraged by the NRSC's March fundraising. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee announced Tuesday it raised nearly $6.4 million in March — its best fundraising month of the midterm cycle so far.

The monthly total boosted the NRSC’s fundraising in the first quarter of 2014 to more than $16.4 million. It ended March with about $15.9 million in cash on hand and no debt. Full story

Democrats Lose Recruit for Mike Rogers Seat

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, who was in town last week meeting with senior House Democrats, announced Tuesday she will not run for Michigan’s open 8th District seat.

The decision is a blow to national Democrats’ hopes to contend in the district of Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, who recently announced his retirement.

Byrum met with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., members of the Michigan delegation, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and EMILY’s List, among others, while on Capitol Hill last week. But she ultimately opted against running for the Republican-leaning district. Full story

House Republican Women Endorse in Florida Special Primary

Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., endorsed a candidate in the Florida special. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The two women leading the effort to support female candidates in Republican primaries endorsed Florida Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto in the special election to replace former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla.

Republican Reps. Ann Wagner of Missouri and Diane Black of Tennessee both used the word “trust” in their statements about Benacquisto, who faces businessman Curt Clawson and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel in the April 22 special primary.

“The people of the 19th District have lost faith in their elected officials. And the only candidate that can restore the sacred foundation of trust and integrity is Lizbeth Benacquisto,” Wagner said. “I am proud to endorse Lizbeth because she is the only conservative in this race that will get the job done.” Full story

Primary Challenger Airs First Ad Against ‘Liberal’ Boehner Ally

Smith, above, is challenging Simpson. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Attorney Bryan Smith went on the air with a new television ad calling his primary rival, Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, a “liberal.”

Smith is challenging Simpson, an eight-term incumbent and top ally of Speaker John A. Boehner, for the 2nd District in one of the cycle’s top primary battles. Smith also boasts the backing of several conservative outside groups, including the Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund.

The spot features an edited clip of Simpson saying, “Let me tell you about earmarks. I’ve always been a supporter of earmarks.”

Full story

April 7, 2014

Kay Hagan Raised $2.8 Million for Re-Election in 2014

Kay Hagan raised $2.8 million in the first quarter. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan raised $2.8 million in the first quarter — an impressive sum for the top target of outside spending in the 2014 midterms.

The first-term Democrat ended March with $8.3 million in cash on hand, according to the Hagan campaign. That’s far more than any of her potential Republican opponents are likely to report, though she’s already the target of millions of dollars worth of ads from Americans for Prosperity.

“Kay’s strong fundraising total for the first quarter shows the excitement and momentum behind her campaign,” Hagan spokeswoman Sadie Weiner said. “These funds will ensure the campaign can reach voters in every corner of the state to talk about Kay’s record of putting North Carolina first.” Full story

Vance McAllister Kissing Video Could Prompt Flood of GOP Challengers

McAllister invited Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty to be his State of the Union guest. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Rep. Vance McAllister’s days in Congress could be numbered.

No matter whether the Louisiana Republican resigns after asking for forgiveness for an extramarital affair, Republican operatives said at least four members of his own party could look to challenge McAllister this fall.

In Louisiana, candidates have until Aug. 22 to file the necessary paperwork for a bid, and all candidates who qualify for the ballot run on Election Day in November. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the race kicks to a runoff in December between the two top vote recipients.

“There’s no doubt I’ve fallen short and I’m asking for forgiveness,” McAllister said in a statement. “I’m asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff, and my constituents who elected me to serve. Trust is something I know has to be earned whether your a husband, a father, or a congressman. I promise to do everything I can to earn back the trust of everyone I’ve disappointed.”

Full story

N.C. Republican Launches TV Ad in Targeted District

Woody White, one of two Republicans running for North Carolina’s open 7th District seat, released a TV ad Monday touting his conservative principles.

The New Hanover County commissioner’s 30-second bio spot will air on cable and broadcast district-wide, according to White’s campaign. It’s the latest primary ad to hit the airwaves in this top target for national Republicans.

“I’m a conservative who will stand up for our values and God-given liberties,” White says in the ad, while voicing his opposition to the Affordable Care Act and amnesty for undocumented immigrants.

http://youtu.be/Y8b66NqMH4c

Full story

Multiple Outside Groups Launch Ads in Mississippi Senate Primary (Updated)

Updated 3:10 p.m. | Two big-spending outside groups launched TV ads Monday benefiting the Republican primary opponent to Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran.

Club for Growth Action launched a six-figure ad buy targeting Cochran’s record, as Senate Conservatives Action released a positive spot on behalf of state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

The six-term Republican is the only senator being challenged this cycle by the political action arm of the Club for Growth, which along with the Senate Conservatives Fund endorsed McDaniel in October. The Senate Conservatives Fund and its political action arm are backing two other primary challengers to GOP incumbents.

Cochran and McDaniel will face off in two months in the June 3 primary. The multiple ads aim to chip away at Cochran’s support, while also increasing McDaniel’s name I.D. Full story

Runoff Likely for North Carolina Seat Known as ‘I-85 District’

North Carolina’s 12th, once referred to as the “I-85 district,” is vacant for the first time since it was drawn following the 1990 census, and its unique geography is again a central feature in the race to represent it.

The recent departure of longtime Democratic Rep. Melvin Watt to direct the Federal Housing Finance Agency sparked a crowded primary for the black-majority district, which Watt first won in 1992 when it stretched all the way to Durham. A half-dozen Democrats qualified to run for the heavily Democratic district, whose population centers of Charlotte in the south and Winston-Salem and Greensboro in the north are separated by about 90 miles of territory, roughly along Interstate 85.

Half of the Democratic vote comes from Charlotte’s Mecklenburg County, which four of the six candidates in the race hail from — potentially diluting some of the population advantage a leading Charlotte candidate might otherwise enjoy. Conversely, state Rep. Alma Adams is one of just two candidates from the Greensboro area, and party insiders in the state believe Adams will win enough support from her wing of the district to give her the advantage in the May 6 primary.

“Alma Adams is the person to watch,” said Democratic consultant Morgan Jackson. “She has put together the best organization, the most money and has locked away one end of that district in Greensboro.”

Full story

Eric Cantor Endorses Republican for Waxman Seat

Cantor endorsed in an LA-based House race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., endorsed attorney and Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity President Elan Carr on Monday in the race to replace retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif.

“We need leaders like Elan who place service to others above all else,” Cantor said in a statement released by the Carr campaign. “Elan understands the importance of maintaining a strong and agile military and he understands that we need to come together to get America working again. I am proud to support Elan’s campaign this year.”

Carr is one of just a few Republicans vying for the solidly Democratic district based in some of the wealthier parts of Los Angeles. Cantor’s endorsement could help Carr coalesce the Republican vote in an effort to advance beyond the June 3 top-two primary, which features a crowded Democratic field. Full story

Republican Empties TV Budget Into New Special Election Ad in Florida

Florida State Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto has hit the airwaves with a new ad in the upcoming special election to replace former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla.

The entire remaining Benacquisto television budget of “nearly six-figures” will go toward the ad, according to a campaign source. The spot is a direct-to-camera appeal, in which the candidate is both positive and defensive.

“My opponents and liberals are spending millions smearing my name, even attacking my family, with false, negative ads,” she said. “But I won’t back down from this fight.”

www.youtube.com/watch?v=VM2hSeKYF5A&feature=youtu.be

Full story

By Abby Livingston Posted at 11:15 a.m.
Open Seat

Mike Rogers Endorses Republican to Succeed Him in Michigan

Rogers is retiring. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Retiring Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., has endorsed former Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop for the GOP nomination to succeed him in Congress.

“Mike Bishop is the right conservative for the 8th District,” Rogers said in a Monday news release. “Bishop will stand up to liberal policies of the Obama administration, just like he stood up and fought for us against the liberal policies of the Granholm administration.”

Full story

Tea Party Tested: In One Month, Establishment on Defense

Cochran faces a June 3 primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A seven-week gauntlet of Republican Senate primaries kicking off next month will decide the fate of the tea party’s success this year.

If a Republican senator loses a primary this year, it will more than likely occur in a span of nominating contests premiering in one month. Incumbents got the boot thanks to tea-party-backed hopefuls in both 2010 and 2012, and those lesser known Republican nominees went on to both triumphs and failures.

In the third election cycle since the rise of the tea party, fundraising and organization remain significant hurdles for anti-establishment candidates. The outside groups helping to fuel many of the primary campaigns concede they are realistic about their slim chances against incumbents and mainstream Republican candidates.

Still, tea party organizers said they remain hopeful about picking off a few House seats and perhaps a couple Senate seats in their continued pursuit of increased congressional influence.

“Some of our guys could lose, many of them could lose. We understand that,” said Daniel Horowitz of the Madison Project, which recruits and supports conservative candidates. “We take calculated risks. We want to see a path, but it’s very much an uphill path in many of these races, especially if you’re going up against an incumbent and even some of the open seats where you’re starting out with a lot less money.”

But, Horowitz added, “on a large scale we have already won by forcing most of the incumbents to embrace, at least publicly, many of our policies.”

The races to watch begin May 6 in North Carolina, followed by Nebraska on May 13, Kentucky and Georgia on May 20, Mississippi on June 3 and South Carolina on June 10. South Dakota’s open seat has also invited a June 3 primary with similar dynamics, but it has drawn less outside interest than the others.

Full story

Ami Bera Challenger Raises $225,000 for Competitive California Race

Ose is one of three Republicans challenging Bera, above. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former Rep. Doug Ose, one of three Republicans challenging Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., raised more than $225,000 in the first quarter of this year, according to figures provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Ose will report contributing an additional $250,000 of his own personal wealth to his comeback bid in Northern California, according to his campaign. That brings his total cash on hand to more than $415,000. Full story

April 4, 2014

Democrat Drops Out of Race to Replace Moran in Virginia

Lopez speaks at a March straw poll for the 8th District seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

State Del. Alfonso Lopez, one of nearly a dozen Democrats seeking to replace retiring Rep. James P. Moran in Virginia’s 8th District, announced on Friday that he will drop out of the contest.

Citing a lack of resources to run a campaign, Lopez said in a statement he is suspending his bid for this Northern Virginia-based House seat.

“I am proud of how my campaign resonated with many voters in the Eighth District, especially new Americans, and that we assembled a coalition of many generous supporters,” Lopez said in a release. “However, after we closed the fundraising quarter, I took the time to evaluate, with my team, the position of my campaign. It is clear to me that I do not have the resources necessary to run the campaign we wanted and that the people of the Eighth District deserved.”

Full story

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