Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 2, 2015

February 18, 2014

Top Democrat Enters Special Election for Andrews Seat in New Jersey

Andrews is a Democrat from New Jersey. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic state Sen. Donald Norcross announced Monday in Bellmawr, N.J., his candidacy for the state’s 1st District.

Norcross is running in the special election to replace Rep. Robert E. Andrews, D-N.J., who announced his resignation earlier this month. Andrews’ resignation is effective Tuesday. Full story

Internal Poll: Wendy Greuel Tops Field for House Race in California

Former Los Angeles Controller Wendy Greuel boasts a lead in the crowded field to replace retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., in the 33rd District, according to her own survey provided first to CQ Roll Call.

The poll showed Greuel, one of three Democrats in the contest, with support from 29 percent of likely primary voters in the race. Her survey also showed her top competitor, state Sen. Ted Lieu, with 21 percent of the likely primary vote.

Full story

February 14, 2014

Former Clinton Aide Announces Bid for Waxman’s Seat

Matt Miller, a former aide to President Bill Clinton and current Washington Post columnist, announced a bid for the seat of retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman on Friday.

With his announcement, Miller becomes the third Democrat to announce a bid for the district, located in the heart of Los Angeles County.

“I’m a proud Democrat; but too often, politicians in both parties care more about winning elections than solving problems. We have to tackle huge challenges – from the runaway costs of college and health care, to the threats of climate change, the shortage of good jobs and internationally lagging schools,” Miller said in a release. “Getting serious about these challenges means embracing bold ideas – the kind of fresh thinking we aren’t likely to get from career politicians. I’m running for Congress because it’s time to expect more.”

Full story

Governor to Reid: ‘None of Your Damn Business’ Whom I Appoint to Senate

Walsh was sworn into the Senate on Feb. 11. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday he told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to mind his own “damn business” when the Nevada Democrat phoned him last year in an effort to influence his appointment to succeed Max Baucus in the Senate.

According to an account in the Helena Independent Record, Bullock told Montana reporters about his terse words with Reid. The phone call occurred before the administration’s announcement that Baucus would be nominated to be ambassador to China.

The Nevada Democrat had a big stake in the electability of Bullock’s pick. Reid’s party can lose no more than five Senate races to maintain his majority leader status, and the open-seat contest in Montana is one of the GOP’s top pickup opportunities in November. Full story

Democrat Announces Candidacy for Lankford Seat

Oklahoma Democratic state Sen. Al McAffrey announced his candidacy for the 5th District on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

“I’m running for Congress to bring some good old-fashioned Oklahoma common-sense to a place that desperately needs it,” he said in a statement provided to the AP and KGOU.

McAffrey is running in the Oklahoma City-based district to replace Republican Rep. James Lankford, who is campaigning for the open Senate race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Tom Coburn.

This House race would be a major lift for any Democrat. Mitt Romney carried the district by 18 points in 2012.

February 13, 2014

Cochran Supporters Hit Opponent on Missed Votes in Legislature

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mississippi Conservatives PAC, a super PAC supporting Sen. Thad Cochran’s re-election, is firing back at the senator’s GOP primary opponent, pointing to more than a dozen votes state Sen. Chris McDaniel has missed in the state legislature so that he could campaign.

According to recorded votes in the state legislature, McDaniel is the fifth-most-truant member of the Mississippi state Senate this session, which began on Jan. 7. The four state senators who have missed more votes than McDaniel this session include a lawmaker recovering from surgery, a state senator battling lung cancer, and McDaniel’s own campaign manager, state Sen. Melanie Sojourner.

Of the 14 votes McDaniel has missed, one was a vote to include “In God We Trust” on the state seal. At the time, McDaniel was in Washington, D.C., appearing on GOP commentator Glenn Beck’s The Blaze television network.

The attack on McDaniel’s voting record came just days after the primary candidate told a group of reporters in Washington, D.C., that Cochran “almost never” spends time back home in the Magnolia State.

Full story

Doc Hastings to Retire From Congress (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated, 1:51 p.m. | Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., will retire at the end of the year, he announced Thursday in a statement.

“It is with deep appreciation for that privilege that I announce that this will be my final term in office and that I will not run for reelection in November,” he said in a release.

Hastings is the 18th member of Congress to announce retirement this term, according to Roll Call’s Casualty List. GOP Rep. Gary G. Miller of California announced Wednesday he would not seek re-election. Though a host of high-profile lawmakers have said they will step down lately, it’s not close to the records set by previous Congresses.

It is unlikely Hastings’ 4th District will become competitive in an open-seat race. Mitt Romney carried the seat in 2012 by a 22-point margin.

Full story

Americans for Prosperity Airs Radio Ad Against Nick Rahall

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Americans for Prosperity, a conservative outside group backed by Charles and David Koch, is up with a radio ad against Rep. Nick J. Rahall II, D-W.Va.

The group is spending about $30,000 to air the spot and like many other ads in recent weeks. It attacks a Democratic candidate on the issue of health care.

In the radio ad, the group goes after Rahall and President Barack Obama for promising Americans could keep their health insurance plans with the new 2010 health care law. The radio ad also includes a clip of Rahall saying that “it may be in their best interest long term to be canceled.” Full story

Tierney Primary Challenger: I’m Being Encouraged to Run (Video)

The candidate: Veteran Seth Moulton, a Democrat.
The member: Nine-term Rep. John F. Tierney, D-Mass.
The district: Massachusetts’ 6th District, located in the northeast corner of the state, is a reliably Democratic district. But past ethics inquiries into Tierney’s personal finances make him a uniquely vulnerable Democrat. Tierney faces Moulton and Democrat Marisa DeFranco in a Democratic primary. The primary victor will likely face former state Sen. Richard Tisei in the general.
The candidate’s team: Mark Mellman (polling), Dover Strategy Group (mail), Scott Ferson (general consultant), Joe Trippi (senior adviser), Max Glass (campaign manager), Carrie James Rankin (communications director).

Iraq War veteran Seth Moulton, a Democrat challenging nine-term Rep. John F. Tierney in a Democratic primary in Massachusetts’ 6th District, says he is being strongly encouraged to run by members of his own party.

“If I had a penny for everyone who’s whispered in my ear to say, ‘We want you to win the primary. We may not be able to publicly support you, but we’d really like you to win this because Congressman Tierney is a liability in this seat,’ my fundraising numbers would be even better than they are,” Moulton said in an interview with CQ Roll Call this month.

Full story

EMILY’s List Endorses 3 House Candidates

EMILY’s List, an organization that backs female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights, announced Thursday a trifecta of endorsements for candidates in open-seat in races in Michigan, New Jersey and New York.

The three endorsed candidates are: Full story

Tim Griffin to Run for Lt. Gov. in Arkansas

Griffin had announced earlier he would not seek re-election. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., who months ago said he would not seek re-election in Arkansas’ 2nd District, announced Thursday he is running for another office.

On his personal Facebook page, Griffin said he will run for lieutenant governor of Arkansas. The position is currently vacant, after Republican Mark Darr resigned amid ethics inquiries.

Griffin announced in October that he would not seek re-election to Congress. In a January op-ed in Roll Call, Griffin cited his young family and the strains of traveling between Washington, D.C., and his home state as the reason.

Full story

Who’s Spending What on TV in the Florida Special

Sink is the Democratic nominee in the competitive special election in Florida. (Tim Boyles/Getty Images File Photo)

Ad wars have escalated in a highly competitive special election in Florida, with Democrats spending more overall, but Republicans quickly catching up with their ad buys.

The already profuse ad spending demonstrates the high stakes for both parties in this March 11 special election. Although the election is one month away, elections officials started to send out mail-in ballots last week for the 13th District contest.

That means television time — especially early advertisements — come at a premium in this Tampa-area media market.

Cumulatively, the Democratic nominee, Alex Sink, and her allies have spent about $1 million more on television advertisements than Republicans.

But the GOP’s nominee, lobbyist David Jolly, and his allies have spent more than Democrats in the past two weeks. Most recently, the National Republican Congressional Committee aired a spot that links Sink to national Democrats and the president’s 2010 health care law.

Here’s a breakdown of approximately how much each party has spent on television advertisements in the general election as of Tuesday afternoon, according to multiple media-buying sources from both parties who are monitoring the race:

Full story

February 12, 2014

Democrats Endorse Documentary Filmmaker for Owens’ Seat

Aaron Woolf (Courtesy 21st District Democratic Committee)

A political quagmire on the Democratic bench in New York’s open 21st District has emboldened Republicans in a district that was already a GOP pick-up opportunity.

On Wednesday, local Democratic officials unanimously endorsed Aaron Woolf, a documentary filmmaker from Elizabethtown, N.Y., in the race to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Bill Owens.

Woolf’s endorsement from the 21st District’s 12 county chairmen came after some high-profile Democrats, including former Rep. Scott Murphy, D-N.Y., declined bids for the seat.

Sheila Comar, chairwoman of the Washington County party, said in a statement that Woolf was the best candidate to continue Owens’ “work to protect our seniors and the Medicare guarantee, middle class families, and reflect the independent spirit that makes the North Country strong. Woolf is a problem solver who will take a commonsense approach and is committed to working together to find solutions that create more jobs and spur New York’s economy.”

Republicans said the thin bench of candidates to choose from indicates Democrats are not hopeful they can hold on to the upstate New York seat. Full story

McConnell, Cornyn Walk Plank on Debt Limit to Ire of Conservatives

Senate Republican leaders Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and John Cornyn of Texas on Wednesday voted to advance legislation that would increase the nation’s borrowing capacity — but not before they spent 40 minutes of the open vote trying to get others to do it for them, likely out of fear of the conservative blowback that came almost immediately.

Earlier this week, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, demanded the 60-vote procedural move, which put McConnell and Cornyn in the uncomfortable position of having to find five Republicans to join Democrats in supporting the debt ceiling measure. By doing so, Cruz gave perfect fodder to tea party groups and candidates, like the Senate Conservatives Fund and McConnell opponent Matt Bevin, against in-cycle Republicans who would need to vote for the bill as opposed to just letting Democrats do it themselves with a simple majority.

Within minutes, the two leaders were getting hit on social media by their opponents.

Gary Miller to Retire From Congress (Updated) (Video)

California Rep. Gary G. Miller announced Wednesday he will not seek re-election.

“It has been a great honor to spend so many years in public service, striving to make a difference for Southern California families,” Miller said in a statement. “While there is still a lot of work to be done, it is now time for me to pass the baton.”

Miller, first elected in 1998, entered this cycle as the most vulnerable Republican up for re-election. He represents a Southern California district President Barack Obama carried with 57 percent of the vote in 2012.

In perhaps the top pickup opportunity for Democrats this cycle, the candidates already seeking the seat include Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, attorney Eloise Gomez Reyes and former Rep. Joe Baca.

Miller’s retirement makes it far more likely that two Democrats will advance beyond the June 3 top-two primary. Emily’s List, which is backing Reyes, released a statement shortly after Miller’s announcement noting that her path “just got clearer.” Full story

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