Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 28, 2015

September 5, 2013

Special-Election Candidates Start Buying TV Time in Mobile | #AL01

Wells Griffith, a Republican candidate in Alabama’s 1st District special election, went up with his first television ad on Thursday, less than a month before the Sept. 24 primary.

The 30-second “positive” spot will air on broadcast and cable stations throughout the district, and highlights Griffith’s ties to the 1st District, where his family has owned a full-service gas station for generations. The campaign spent $12,500 on the ad, according to a source with knowledge of ad buys in the district.

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TV Ad Targets McConnell on Obamacare Defunding | #KYSEN (Video)

TV Ad Targets McConnell on Obamacare Defunding | #KYSEN (Video)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate Conservatives Fund is upping its ante against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell by launching a TV attack ad statewide.

The ad is aimed at urging the Kentucky Republican to lead an effort that seeks to tie upcoming spending bills to a push by rank-and-file Republicans to defund President Barack Obama’s health care law. Critics of that effort, including some GOP leaders, have said demanding that Obamacare be defunded as part of the spending bill debate would only shut down the government, while mandatory spending on the health care law would continue.

McConnell himself has said that shutting down the government will not accomplish the goal of stopping Obamacare.

The ad is backed by $340,000 and is running on broadcast and cable TV statewide Sept. 6-17, according to the SCF, which announced the ad buy on Thursday. It’s a follow-up to a similarly themed radio ad that the group launched last week. All told, the SCF has dumped nearly $400,000 into the race in the past two weeks. Full story

GOP Primary Field Grows to Replace Campbell | #CA45

Businessman Pat Maciariello announced Thursday that he is running to replace retiring GOP Rep. John Campbell in California’s 45th District, joining an already crowded GOP primary field in this strong Republican district.

Maciariello, a self-described political newcomer, joins state Sen. Mimi Walters, Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach and retired Marine Greg Raths in the GOP primary.

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September 4, 2013

Son of Former Congressman to Challenge Tim Walz in Minnesota | #MN01

Jim Hagedorn, son of former Rep. Tom Hagedorn, R-Minn., will formally announce this afternoon that he will challenge four-term Democratic Rep. Tim Walz this cycle.

Hagedorn, a former staffer to then-Rep. Arlan Stangeland, R-Minn., lost a bid for the 1st District in a Republican primary in 2010.

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Bentivolio Gets Primary Challenger in Michigan | #MI11

Republican Rep. Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan officially has a primary on his hands.

Attorney David Trott announced Wednesday morning his primary challenge against Bentivolio, a freshman who won his first term amid the chaos created when former Republican Rep. Thaddeus McCotter abruptly resigned from Congress in 2012.

Trott’s announcement came in the form of an email to supporters and made no mention of the 11th District’s incumbent.

“It’s time we fix Washington and send a leader there who will bring the best people and the best ideas from our communities together to advance our freedom-loving agenda — A leader with a proven record of job creation and problem-solving abilities — A leader with the integrity and commitment to help the district and its residents,” he wrote.

Bentivolio has gained attention on the national scene in recent weeks after advocating for the impeachment of President Barack Obama. He is mostly known in Congress for his background in reindeer ranching.

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September 3, 2013

Montana Senate Field Now Cleared for Daines | #MTSEN

Former Montana state Sen. Corey Stapleton confirmed to CQ Roll Call on Tuesday that he is dropping his Senate bid to run for the House instead.

“It’s official,” he said by phone.

The exit of the last remaining Republican in a top pickup opportunity for the GOP is the latest indication that Rep. Steve Daines will run for the open Senate seat.

Stapleton appeared to let Daines’ decision slip in an earlier interview with Montana’s Lee Newspapers. But Daines spokeswoman Alee Lockman said the congressman hasn’t “made any final decision yet” and still does not have a timeline to do so. Full story

Democrat Challenges Pearce in New Mexico | #NM02

Democrat Roxanne “Rocky” Lara announced Tuesday that she will run for the nomination to challenge New Mexico’s lone Republican delegation member, Rep. Steve Pearce.

“New Mexicans deserve someone in Congress who is committed to our needs and values, but we haven’t been getting that from Washington lately,” Lara said in a release. “I’ll change that by following a straightforward principle: I will work with anyone who shares a willingness to work for a better New Mexico.”

Lara is a former Eddy County Commission chairwoman; she unsuccessfully ran for state party chair in April, according to the El Paso Times. Lara has met previously with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee about a House run, per a national Democratic operative.

New Mexico Democratic Party Chairman Sam Bregman said Lara’s entry in the race means there are two qualified candidates available to take on Pearce, pointing to attorney Leslie Endean-Singh, who previously announced  her run for the 2nd District’s Democratic nomination.

Doug Ose to Vie for California Comeback Bid | #CA07

Former Rep. Doug Ose, R-Calif., announced Tuesday that he will challenge freshman Rep. Ami Bera in California’s 7th District, becoming the second Republican candidate in an open primary field that is expected to grow in the coming weeks.

Ose represented a large chunk of the redrawn 7th District from 1999 to 2005, when he retired after a self-imposed term-limit was up. In a release, Ose’s campaign said the former congressman’s name ID and familiarity among the district’s constituents give him a leg up in this contest.

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No New Hampshire Senate Bid for Ex-Congressman | #NHSEN

Former Rep. Jeb Bradley, R-N.H., told New Hampshire’s WMUR-TV that he will not run for statewide office next year, removing one of the party’s top potential Senate candidates.

Bradley, now the state Senate majority leader, cited family health issues for his decision. He would have been the favorite in a GOP primary for Senate. Some Republican insiders had said in recent weeks that Bradley might opt for a gubernatorial bid, but he made clear Tuesday that he was not interested in either the governor’s mansion or the Senate.

The announcement leaves former state Sen. Jim Rubens and conservative activist Karen Testerman as likely candidates to take on Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who is running for a second term.

Republicans also are eyeing a third candidate for the race: Dan Innis, dean of the business and economics school at the University of New Hampshire. Innis, who is gay and married, also owns the Ale House Inn in Portsmouth. Full story

DeMaio Won’t Run for Mayor of San Diego | #CA52

Top Republican recruit Carl DeMaio announced on Tuesday that he will continue his bid for Congress against freshman Democratic Rep. Scott Peters and will not run in a mayoral special to replace disgraced San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.

Although DeMaio had toyed with a mayoral run after Filner officially resigned following allegations by numerous women of sexual harassment, DeMaio, a gay Republican, said he has received broad support from Washington for his new approach to governing for the GOP.

“Anyone who knows me knows I care more about getting things done, the right things, than any … political office or title,” DeMaio said at a news conference, adding that he felt he can make positive changes in Washington, D.C.

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Outcast Nick Everhart Lands at GOP Direct-Mail Firm (Updated)

Updated 2:07 p.m. | Nick Everhart, formerly a top Republican ad-maker, has a new job at Majority Strategies, a Florida-based GOP direct mail firm.

Everhart was abruptly fired via email in April from his position as president of The Strategy Group for Media, a GOP ad firm. The Ohio-based company made television spots for Republicans all over the ballot, and Everhart was at the center of many of those productions.

Everhart will be a national salesman in his new job, according to a release. At SGM, he pitched to clients and was also involved in ad production.

“Nick Everhart has proven himself to be one of the most talented operatives in Republican politics today,” Majority Strategies President Brett Buerck said in a release. “He brings an invaluable wealth of experience, insight and political intuition to our firm.”

After his termination, Everhart’s former boss at SGM, Rex Elsass, sued him for violating a non-compete agreement. At issue is how broadly to interpret the agreement that Everhart signed two weeks before his termination.

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Republican to Make Third Bid for Maine House Seat | #ME02

Former state Sen. Kevin Raye announced late last week that he is running for Maine’s open 2nd District, according to a local newspaper, becoming the fourth GOP candidate in an increasingly crowded primary contest.

This is Raye’s third congressional bid: He tried twice, unsuccessfully, to beat Democratic Rep. Michael H. Michaud, once in 2002 and again last cycle. Michaud is vacating the 2nd District to run for governor in the Pine Tree State.

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Rand Paul to Stump for Republican in New Jersey Special | #NJSEN

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will rally supporters next week for the Republican nominee in the New Jersey Senate special election.

Steve Lonegan’s campaign announced Tuesday that Paul will join him in Clark, N.J., on Sept. 13 for an afternoon “Liberty and Victory Rally.” Lonegan, a conservative activist and former Bogota mayor, is an underdog against Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat, in the Oct. 16 special.

Lonegan sought Paul’s endorsement during a trip to Capitol Hill last month, when he also met with conservative groups such as the Club for Growth to argue his case for electability in Democratic-leaning New Jersey. On Aug. 20, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is up for re-election in November and who had a policy feud with Paul this summer, endorsed Lonegan, a former gubernatorial rival.

A poll released last week found Booker ahead by a wide margin in the race for the seat of the late Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg. The seat is up for a full term in 2014.

The race is rated Safe Democrat by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Politico first reported that Paul would campaign with Lonegan.

August 30, 2013

Liz Cheney Accuses NRSC of Push Poll Against Her | #WYSEN (Updated)

Updated 4:21 p.m. | Republican Liz Cheney announced on Friday that she is against gay marriage and accused the National Republican Senatorial Committee of sponsoring a “push poll” against her.

“I am strongly pro-life and I am not pro-gay marriage,” Cheney said in a campaign news release.

She added that it is an issue that ought to be decided at the state level.

“I believe the issue of marriage must be decided by the states, and by the people in the states, not by judges and not even by legislators, but by the people themselves,” she added.

She voiced these opinions in the context of what her campaign alleged was a push poll which suggested that Cheney “supports abortion and aggressively promotes gay marriage.”

The statement included a sentence that tied the NRSC to the push poll. A push poll is typically a phony survey where the intent is not data collection but rather the dissemination of false information about a candidate.

“I call on Senator Enzi to denounce this poll and to tell the National Republican Senatorial Committee, or anyone else promoting untruths on his behalf, to stop,” Cheney added. Her spokeswoman, Celeste Colgan, tied Sen. Michael B. Enzi to the poll in the statement.

An NRSC spokesman told CQ Roll Call that they were “baffled by the statement and are not polling in Wyoming.” And an Enzi spokesman vigorously disputed Cheney’s allegation. Full story

Transgender Candidate Enters Minnesota House Contest | #MN02

Paula Overby, a 59-year-old transgender quality assurance analyst, filed federal paperwork this week to run in Minnesota’s 2nd District, becoming the third Democrat to enter a crowded primary in this top-target race in the midterm cycle.

Overby is looking to unseat Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., who won the seat in 2012 by 8 points, even as President Barack Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney each received 49 percent of the district’s vote.

Overby told the Pioneer Press that she believes she is the first openly transgender person from Minnesota to run for Congress.

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