Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 26, 2015

February 5, 2014

Clay Aiken Announces Congressional Bid

Clay Aiken

(Ethan Miller/Getty Images File Photo)

“American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken launched his bid for Congress on Wednesday morning as a Democrat in North Carolina’s 2nd District.

In a video message, Aiken says he is running against GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers because he feels she votes against the best interests of her constituents.

“This is what’s wrong with Washington,” Aiken said in a video announcement on his website, “That a Congresswoman would go [to Washington] and vote against the best interests of North Carolina military families and those who depend on the military for their jobs. To do it when you know it’s wrong is even worse.”

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By Emily Cahn Posted at 7:26 a.m.
House 2016, N.C.-2

GOPAC Endorses Four House Candidates

GOPAC, an organization that grooms Republican state legislators to run for Congress, will endorse four candidates in competitive House races Wednesday, according to a release provided first to CQ Roll Call.

The group’s endorsement will come with monetary support, including the maximum allowed federal contributions, GOPAC member-driven donations and independent expenditures on behalf of the candidates, according to GOPAC President David Avella.

The state legislators who earned GOPAC’s endorsement are:

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February 4, 2014

Super PAC TV Ad Touts Dan Sullivan in Alaska

An Alaska-based super PAC formed to support the Senate campaign of Republican Dan Sullivan launched a TV ad Tuesday that paints him in the mold of Ronald Reagan and longtime Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.

Sullivan, a former state attorney general and commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, is vying for the Republican nomination to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, who defeated Stevens in 2008. Begich is a top target of national Republicans, who are hoping to net six seats this fall to regain control of the Senate.

The ad, from Alaska’s Energy/America’s Values, is backed by a $41,000 buy and will air statewide this month, according to a release shared first with CQ Roll Call. It starts off with the voices of Reagan and Stevens before cutting to a clip from Sullivan’s campaign announcement press conference in October. Full story

Conservative Americans for Prosperity Launches Anti-Obamacare Ads in N.C., W.Va.

Americans for Prosperity, the powerful conservative group backed by brothers David and Charles Koch, on Tuesday announced a $1.4 million ad buy in North Carolina attacking Sen. Kay Hagan’s support of the 2010 health care law.

The group released spots against Hagan and also Rep. Nick J. Rahall II, D-WVa., who is facing a competitive re-election bid. The ads can be viewed here and here.

“Families in North Carolina and West Virginia are suffering from the many consequences of ObamaCare, which include cancelled plans, lost access to doctors, and rising costs. Kay Hagan and Nick Rahall have chosen to stand with President Obama, instead of the American people. They must be held accountable for supporting a law that has brought so much hardship to their constituents,” AFP President Tim Phillips said in a statement.

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Conservative Considering Bid for Wolf Seat in Virginia

Updated 2:12 p.m. | Conservative state Del. Bob Marshall is “seriously considering” entering the open-seat race for Virginia’s 10th District.

Should Marshall run for the seat of retiring GOP Rep. Frank R. Wolf in this competitive Northern Virginia district, he would face fellow state Del. Barbara Comstock in a GOP “firehouse primary.” The seat is a top target for national Democrats.

“I spoke to Bob yesterday, and he is seriously considering it,” said John Whitbeck, chairman of the 10th District GOP. “He did not say he was entering the race at this point.”

Reached for comment, Marshall declined to discuss his intentions, saying only: “I’m talking to people, and that’s all I want to say.”

Marshall is a hard-line social conservative who sponsored the controversial “personhood” bill in the state Legislature in 2012. He lost bids for the Republican Senate nomination in both 2008 and 2012, first at a nominating convention with former Gov. Jim Gilmore and then in a primary against former Gov. George Allen. Full story

Sandra Fluke to Run for Congress in California

Fluke, left, has filed paperwork to run for Congress. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke has filed paperwork with the California Democratic Party to run for Congress in the open 33rd District.

Fluke is the third Democrat to join the race to replace retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman in this Los Angeles-based House seat. State Sen. Ted Lieu and former Los Angeles Controller Wendy Greuel announced bids last week.

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New Jersey’s Rob Andrews to Resign From Congress (Updated) (Video)

Updated 9:31 a.m | Rep. Robert E. Andrews, D-N.J., will resign from Congress this month to take a job with a Philadelphia law firm, a Democratic aide confirmed to CQ Roll Call.


Andrews, an ally of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, is scheduled to host an 11:30 a.m. news conference in his southern New Jersey district, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, which first reported the news. Full story

February 3, 2014

Senate Democrats Backed Obama On Overwhelming Number of 2013 Votes, CQ Roll Call Vote Studies Show

Every vulnerable Senate Democrat up for re-election in 2014 voted with President Barack Obama at least 90 percent of the time in 2013, according to CQ Roll Call’s latest vote studies, released Monday.

Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor broke with the president most often, opposing him in 10 percent of all 2013 votes where the administration stated a preferred outcome. Sens. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, Mary Landrieu, D-La. and Kay Hagan, D-N.C., voted for Obama’s position 97, 97, and 96 percent of the time, respectively. Of those four, only Begich serves with a Republican who has bucked the GOP to back Obama with any frequency. (See our Jan. 21 story.)

Support for Obama’s initiatives from incumbent Democrats who are favored but not safe was just as high if not higher than from vulnerable members: Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Mark Warner of Virginia supported the president in 99 and 97 percent of votes.

On the flip side, Republican senators who are wary of primary challengers from the right opposed Obama so often that the president’s support from GOP senators in 2013 — 40 percent — was the lowest of his five years in office. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., opposed Obama 67 percent of the time. Sens. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, opposed the Obama position on 66, 50, 48 and 66 percent of votes respectively.

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Goss Out, Benacquisto Running For Radel Seat (Updated)

Updated 10:58 a.m.| Florida State Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto will run for former Rep. Trey Radel’s seat in Congress, according to a Monday news release. On the same morning, her fellow Republican, Chauncey Goss, announced he will not run in the same race.

“I will respect the trust you place in me, and I will serve you with a dignity that reflects our shared commitment to getting Florida and our great nation back on the road to prosperity,” Benaquisto wrote in an email to supporters.

As for Goss, he ran against Radel in the 19th District’s 2012 primary and publicly said after Radel’s resignation that he was seriously considering another run. The son of former Rep. Porter Goss made his announcement in a Monday news release.

“After careful thought and discussion with my family, I am announcing that I will not be a candidate in this upcoming special election,” he said. “As a husband and a father, my responsibility to my family must at this time take priority over the level of commitment required to properly serve as our Representative in Congress.”

Businessman Curt Clawson and former Rep. Paige Kreegel are the most notable contenders for the seat at this point.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced the special election dates on Friday. The primary, which will all-but-determine the next occupant of this safe Republican seat, will take place on April 22. The general election is June 24.

January 31, 2014

DCCC Outraised NRCC in December

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $1.4 million more than its GOP counterpart in December.

A National Republican Congressional Committee source said Friday that the committee raised $4.2 million in December. The NRCC ended the year with $21 million in cash on hand.

The DCCC, which released its fundraising numbers Thursday, raised $5.6 million and had $29.3 million in cash on hand as of Dec. 31.

Both House campaign committees eliminated their debt earlier this cycle.

DSCC, NRSC Raised $4M in December

The Democratic and Republican Senate campaign arms both raised $4 million in December, according to figures released Friday.

The month ended a strong fundraising year for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which outraised its Republican counterpart by $16 million on the year.

The DSCC, which raised $52.6 million in 2013, paid down its debt to $3.75 million and ended the year with $12 million in cash on hand.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which got off to a slow start in 2013, raised $36.7 million last year and ended December with $8 million on hand and no debt.

Republicans must net six seats to win the majority in November.

Comstock Gets Boost From House Republican Women

Diane Black, R-Tenn., is among the House GOP Conference women fundraising for Comstock (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republican women are hosting a fundraiser next month for Virginia state Del. Barbara Comstock, according to an invitation obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Comstock, who is running to replace retiring Republican Rep. Frank R. Wolf in Virginia’s 10th District, is a former Wolf staffer and consultant to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign. She is a front-runner for the Republican nomination in this competitive district, located in the northern Virginia suburbs. Romney won here in 2012 by a 1-point margin.

This the latest push by the women of the House GOP Conference, who are making it a priority this cycle to help elect Republican women.

Full story

Democrats Begin to Flood Race to Replace Waxman

Waxman is retiring after 20 terms in the House (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic state Sen. Ted Lieu announced Friday that he will enter the race to replace retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman in California’s 33rd District.

Lieu is now the second Democrat to announce a bid since Waxman announced his retirement on Thursday, and many more are considering jumping in. Former Los Angeles Controller Wendy Greuel, who lost a mayoral bid last year, announced her campaign Thursday night.

“I have made the hard choices that helped turn California’s budget deficit into a budget surplus; fought to protect our environment; co-authored legislation to divest California’s pension funds from Iran’s energy and nuclear industries; and authored landmark civil rights legislation,” Lieu, a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve, said in a statement.

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2 New Ads Drop in Florida Special

The two House campaign committees released TV ads Friday, each attacking the opposition nominee in the special election race for Florida’s 13th District.

In the competitive March 11 special to replace the late Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., both parties have made six-figure TV airtime buys. Advertising is likely to flood the district over the next month and the ads released Friday are just the latest forays from the two committees.

The National Republican Congressional Committee’s ad slams Democrat Alex Sink for air travel during her tenure as the state’s chief financial officer. Full story

Obama’s Cousin Hopes to Stop President From ‘Destroying America’ (Video)

The candidate: Physician Milton Wolf
The member: Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.
The state: Roberts ran unopposed in his 2008 primary and won the general with 60 percent. Kansas hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1932.
The candidate’s team: Jason Miller of Jamestown Associates is the general and media consultant.

Milton Wolf, a physician challenging Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts in a Republican primary, may be a distant relative of Barack Obama, but he is no fan of the second-term president.

In an interview with CQ Roll Call this week, Wolf said Obama’s policies “are destroying America” and called him “maybe the worst president of our history.”

“Indeed we are cousins, but I am quick to remind that you cannot choose your family,”  Wolf said. “What you can do is choose to rise up and stop your family from destroying America.” Full story

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