Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 31, 2014

March 19, 2013

Arkansas: Republican Poll Shows Pryor Vulnerability

Arkansas: Republican Poll Shows Pryor Vulnerability

Republicans plan to target Pryor's seat. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two conservative groups, Club for Growth Action and the Senate Conservatives Fund, released a new poll on Tuesday that shows Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., a top target in 2014.

In late January, 53 percent of those surveyed had a favorable opinion of Pryor, while 25 percent had an unfavorable opinion of him in the Basswood Research poll of likely voters. By mid-March poll, 36 had a favorable opinion of Pryor, while 36 percent had an unfavorable opinion of him.

Both organizations have recently aired paid advertisements against Pryor — this one from the club, and this one from SCF. The distilled message of the ads from both groups was that Pryor was not independent and votes a great deal of the time with Barack Obama.

Both ads were backed by moderate buy sizes, which Democrats argued casts doubt on the big shift in Pryor’s favorability.

Full story

Shop Talk: Top Democratic Mail Firm Mack|Crounse Breaks Up

The Mack|Crounse Group, a top Democratic direct-mail firm that worked on both of President Barack Obama’s campaigns, has dissolved.

Last week, the firm’s principals, Kevin Mack and Jim Crounse, announced the formation of their own direct-mail firms in separate emails to clients and colleagues.

“We’ve come to the realization that our client bases are very different, and in today’s world of firewalls, independent expenditures, and super PAC’s [sic], this is the best step for our clients, staff and ourselves,” Crounse wrote in his email, adding that it will “take a little time to unwind” the current firm. In fact, the company’s website is still up.

“After careful consideration and some soul-searching, I have decided to set-up [sic] a new direct mail/communications firm,” Mack wrote in another email. “Moving forward, the new firm will continue to offer the same strategic, design and production excellence that we always have.”

“In fact, every member of the ‘Mack Team’ will be joining me, including my top designers and production staff,” he added.

Full story

March 18, 2013

South Carolina: Sanford Is Front-Runner in 1st District Primary

South Carolina: Sanford Is Front Runner in 1st District Primary

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Voters in the coastal 1st District hit the polls Tuesday to cast ballots in the Democratic and Republican special-election primaries.

Insiders expect more than 30,000 people to vote in the Republican primary; 16 candidates will be on the ballot.

The front-runner is former Gov. Mark Sanford. He is expected to be the top vote-getter but will likely fall well short of 50 percent. If that happens, he will land in an April 2 runoff with the Republican who receives the second largest share of votes.

Insiders believe that the most likely candidates to make the runoff with Sanford are attorney Curtis Bostic, state Sen. Larry Grooms, former state Sen. John Kuhn, state Rep. Chip Limehouse and economics teacher Teddy Turner, the son of media mogul Ted Turner. Full story

New Poll Shows Support for Gay Marriage at All-Time High

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll found record high support — 58 percent — for gay marriage.

In a new survey released Monday, only 36 percent of those polled thought marriage for gay and lesbian couples should be illegal and 6 percent had no opinion.

Gay marriage has been one of the country’s fastest-shifting political issues of the decade. Just three years ago, the same poll found 47 percent of respondents favored legal gay marriage and 50 percent were against it.

The new numbers were released on the heels of two top officials — a Democrat and Republican — announcing that their views have evolved on the matter. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said last week that he now supports the right of gay people to get married. On Monday, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced via video that she has evolved to support same-sex marriage. Clinton is a possible 2016 presidential frontrunner.

Full story

Shop Talk: Smoot Joins Majority PAC

Julianna Smoot, the deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election effort, has joined Majority PAC’s board of directors.

“We have a small, effective team to which she brings critical expertise and networks as we prepare for this election cycle and make sure we have every resource needed to keep a Democratic senate majority,” super PAC co-chair Susan McCue said in a press release Monday.

The Democratic super political action committee spent millions to boost Senate candidates in 2012, including major buys in Indiana, Ohio and other states. Full story

DSCC Raises $500,000 From Ryan Budget Affront

DSCC Raises $500,000 From Ryan Budget Affront

Michael Bennet is the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $500,000 in its recent campaign attacking House Republicans — and possible Senate candidates — for supporting Rep. Paul D. Ryan’s budget blueprint, according to fundraising figures provided exclusively to CQ Roll Call.

“Through targeted online ads, grassroots petitioning, and direct appeals, online and grassroots donors have gone above and beyond what they’ve ever done this early in the cycle since Republicans said they would reintroduce a more draconian version of the Ryan plan,” DSCC Digital Director Jason Rosenbaum said in an emailed statement.

The DSCC took a page from House Democrats’ playbook last week when they attacked specific House Republicans for supporting Ryan’s budget. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has leveled these kinds of attack lines for years on television, and it’s not clear they proved effective on Election Day.

However, attacking the Ryan budget continues to be lucrative among the Democratic Party’s base — especially in online fundraising.

The vast majority — 85 percent — of the DSCC’s recent fundraising campaign against the Ryan budget came in online, while the committee raised the rest via phones, according to a DSCC aide. Mostly low-dollar contributions made up the haul taken in March 7-15.

Full story

Three Takeaways From the RNC’s Autopsy Report for 2014

Three Takeaways From the RNCs Autopsy Report for 2014

Priebus announced the details of the RNC's "autopsy" report of the 2012 elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Republican National Committee rolled out a massive post-2012-elections report Monday that focused on crafting what RNC Chairman Reince Priebus called a “fresh beginning” for a party that was on the losing end of a number of electoral contests last cycle.

“We know we have problems,” Priebus said to a packed ballroom at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “We’ve identified them, and we’re implementing the solutions to fix them.”

The report’s recommendations were mostly broad in nature — better messaging, more openness to those with differing views, earlier outreach and engagement to minority groups, a stronger data infrastructure and a more robust get-out-the-vote operation.

Many of the recommendations focused on national campaigns, for example condensing the presidential primary calendar and controlling the debate schedule. But there were specific recommendations that are likely to have a more immediate effect on 2014:

Full story

By Joshua Miller Posted at 1:10 p.m.
Ads, GOTV, Polling, RNC

March 17, 2013

Priebus Announces Minority Outreach Initiative at RNC

Priebus Announces Minority Outreach Initiative at RNC

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced a $10 million outreach initiative Sunday to better convey the party’s message to voters, particularly minorities.

Priebus said the GOP’s “unprecedented” self-evaluation has shown that it has a “quality of context” problem with relating to voters, largely because of “parachuting” into communities months before an election rather than building grass-roots support.

If Republicans have a level of familiarity with a community, he said, it is easier to maintain party support in situations where a candidate’s blunder – like Missouri GOP Rep. Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments — could torpedo the chances for victory come Election Day.

Full story

March 16, 2013

Rand Paul Edges Out Marco Rubio in CPAC Straw Poll

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., won the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll on Saturday, edging out fellow Sen. Marco Rubio. He follows in the footsteps of his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who was a perennial CPAC straw poll winner.

Paul took 25 percent with Rubio garnering 23 percent at the annual event that took place at National Harbor, Md., this year. This comes about a week after Paul’s Senate floor filibuster that created the Twitter hashtag “StandWithRand.” The motto translated at CPAC – some of the biggest souvenir hits were Mad Men logo “Stand With Rand” stickers and t-shirts that featured Paul’s silhouette.

Other top finishers followed in this order:

  • Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. got 8 percent
  • Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J. got 7 percent
  • Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. got 6 percent
  • Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis. got 5 percent

Utah: Love Hires Top Hatch Strategist for Matheson Rematch

Utah: Love Hires Top Hatch Strategist for Matheson Rematch

Love prepares for a rematch with Matheson (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — After a 1-point loss in Utah last year, Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love is actively laying the groundwork for a second challenge to the sole Democrat in the state’s delegation, Rep. Jim Matheson.

In preparation for a bid, Love has hired former state GOP Chairman Dave Hansen, who was widely heralded last year for successfully managing the re-election campaign of Sen. Orrin Hatch.

Love and Hansen sat down with CQ Roll Call for an interview Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where she was scheduled to speak.

“We are looking at it very seriously,” Love said. “We are trying to get people engaged and going, and let them know that we have to start early so that we are not starting from behind.”

Full story

March 15, 2013

Heller Loses Battle to Keep Office Space

Heller Loses Battle to Keep Office Space

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller has lost the office suite his staff tried so hard to keep to Sen. Jerry Moran, the Kansas Republican’s office confirmed Friday.

As CQ Roll Call reported earlier this week, Heller’s staff had been using stalling tactics to prevent more senior member offices from viewing the space, which includes an unusually large personal office. Several complaints had been lodged with the Senate Rules and Administration Committee about the aggressive behavior of Heller staffers through the course of the months-long lottery process.

Heller had inherited his space from former Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., but at the beginning of each Congress, junior member offices are available for more senior members. Moran is 74th in overall Senate seniority; while Heller is only 85th.

Though other offices encountered unhelpful staffers and apparent ruses for why the office suite couldn’t be seen in its entirety, Moran’s staff reported a pleasant experience when they visited this week.

“We’ve selected Sen. Heller’s office. His staff was great to work with and showed Sen. Moran and our staff their suite multiple times,” Moran spokeswoman Garrette Silverman said via email.

Each office in the lottery has a 24-hour window to decide whether to move. In a particularly fractious exchange with the staff of Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Heller staffers cracked jokes about a potential primary challenger in the event Chambliss, who has since announced his retirement, took the Russell suite.

The episode caused some heartburn for Heller, with Nevada Democrats seizing on the issue as a scandal for the freshman senator’s office.

Now, Heller’s staff will have to tour other offices to find a new space before the lottery process ends in May. But they’ll have to wait their turn. Ten senators are ahead of them in the lottery.

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

The Conservative Political Action Conference is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year in a new location: across the D.C. line (but still within the Beltway) at National Harbor, Md. Although it’s a new location, the event remains a central focus this week for the Washington press corps, including team coverage from CQ Roll Call.

The event wraps up Saturday with straw poll results announced around 5 p.m.

Here are some of the highlights of CQ Roll Call’s coverage of the three-day conservative cattle call:

Below are some of the best shots captured Thursday and Friday by our award-winning photographers:

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Louisiana: Dardenne Not Running Against Landrieu

Louisiana: Dardenne Not Running Against Landrieu

Landrieu is a top GOP target in 2014. (By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, a popular local GOP official, will not take on Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu in 2014.

“I’m not going to run for the U.S. Senate,” he told LaPolitics.com Friday.

George C. Kennedy, Dardenne’s longtime strategist, confirmed the news.

Landrieu is a top GOP target in 2014. Her state has increasingly voted for Republicans in recent years, including for Mitt Romney in 2012.

Dardenne first publicly floated the idea of Senate run in an interview with CQ Roll Call earlier this month.

Other potential Republican candidates for Senate include Reps. John Fleming and Bill Cassidy, as well as former Rep. Jeff Landry.

New York: Recchia Meets With DCCC Officials to Plot Grimm Challenge

New York: Recchia Meets With DCCC Officials to Plot Grimm Challenge

Israel met with a recruit this week to discuss his challenge to a New York Republican representative. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:26 p.m. | A trio of top-ranking Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee officials huddled with New York City Councilman Domenic Recchia on Thursday to plan a challenge to Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y.

According to a senior national Democratic strategist, Recchia met in Washington with two fellow New Yorkers, DCCC Chairman Steve Israel and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, as well as DCCC Recruitment Chairwoman Donna Edwards.

They discussed strategy and Recchia’s “path to victory” in New York’s 11th District, the source said. Recchia declared his candidacy in mid-February. Full story

CPAC: Romney Urges Republicans to Learn From His Mistakes

CPAC: Romney Urges Republicans to Learn From His Mistakes

Romney addressed CPAC on Friday (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Two weeks after giving his first television interview since losing the presidential election, Mitt Romney returned to the spotlight again Friday to deliver his first major public speech.

Over the course of the 2012 campaign, Romney seemed more able to win over the heads — not hearts — of conservatives, yet he received a boisterous response from a crowd of a few thousand conservative activists in this hotel ballroom.

Romney urged attendees at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference “to learn from our mistakes and my mistakes” to help win back the White House and Senate.

“As someone who just lost the last election, I’m probably not in the best position to chart the course for the next one,” Romney said before offering advice anyway.

The former Massachusetts governor urged the Republican Party, which has undergone some soul-searching since its November losses, to look to the party’s 30 sitting governors for lessons on how to win elections and govern successfully. Romney name-checked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, neither of whom were invited to CPAC after receiving heat from conservatives recently.

Full story

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