Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 7, 2016

March 14, 2014

Scott Brown Announces Preparations for Senate Bid

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Sen. Scott P. Brown, R-Mass., announced Friday he is preparing to run for Senate in New Hampshire, kicking off a nearly unprecedented bid to represent a second state in the Senate.

Brown’s decision, unveiled in a speech at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, N.H., comes 16 months after he was defeated for re-election in the neighboring Bay State by Democrat Elizabeth Warren.

If he wins the Sept. 9 GOP primary and can defeat Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Brown would become just the third person in history — and first since the 1870s — to have represented more than one state in the Senate, according to the Senate Historical Office.

“Starting tomorrow morning, and for the next several weeks, Gail and I will be traveling around the state to introduce ourselves, to ask questions, to speak with everyone of every background — Republicans, independents and Democrats alike — and above all to listen to them and learn of their concerns,” Brown said, according to his prepared remarks. Full story

Goodlatte to Fundraise in Silicon Valley as Tech Community Pushes Immigration Fix

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., is scheduled to hold a high-dollar fundraiser in Silicon Valley next week — but frustrated tech donors are already grumbling about the event, disappointed by the lack of progress from House Republicans on one of their top policy priorities: immigration legislation.

According to an invitation obtained by CQ Roll Call, the Goodlatte fundraiser is organized by TechNet, which bills itself as the “preeminent bipartisan political network of CEOs and Seniors Executives that promotes the growth of technology-led innovation.” Suggested contribution levels for Wednesday’s round table and reception with the powerful chairman range between $10,000 and $40,000 for the Goodlatte Victory Committee.

Not every big-time tech donor, however, is ready to cut a check, because Goodlatte’s Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over immigration legislation.
Full story

Fox Terminates Scott Brown’s Contract Ahead of Senate Announcement

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Fox News has terminated its contract with former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., ahead of his expected move toward a Senate bid, the network announced Friday.

“Scott Brown’s contributor agreement was officially terminated today once he notified FOX News of his intention to form an exploratory committee to run for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire,” Bill Shine, the network’s executive vice president of programming, said in a statement.

Brown is scheduled to deliver a speech at 4:30 p.m. today in Nashua at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference, where he may for the first time confirm he is moving closer to launching a Senate campaign in New Hampshire. The Associated Press reported Thursday that Brown has begun reaching out to potential campaign staff and would announce the formation of an exploratory committee as early as today. Full story

Ralph Hall Challenger Commits to Term Limits

The Republican primary challenger to longtime Texas Rep. Ralph M. Hall says 4th District voters should not expect a Hall-length tenure from him if elected.

Just more than two months out from their primary runoff showdown, attorney John Ratcliffe said in an interview with CQ Roll Call that he not only supports a congressional term limit but would self-impose one if he wins the seat.

Ratcliffe has committed to serving only “four to five” terms in the House, a stark contrast to Hall’s career. The 90-year-old congressman, who has said this will be his last race, is finishing up his 17th term this year.

“I was mayor of a town that did not have term limits, but I term-limited myself,” Ratcliffe said. “I believe that our founders never intended for there to be a permanent political class.”

Full story

Democrats Clear Primary Field in Competitive Virginia House Race

Democrats have cleared the primary field in Virginia’s 10th District, one of the party’s top open-seat targets this cycle.

Attorney Richard Bolger announced Friday he is suspending his campaign, paving the way for Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust — who was already the favorite — to earn the Democratic nomination for this Northern Virginia-based seat.

Bolger launched his bid in September, before longtime Republican Rep. Frank R. Wolf announced his retirement and the seat moved toward the top of national Democrats’ wish list.

“When Congressman Wolf retired, the seat became one of the top pick-up opportunities for Democrats in the nation,” Bolger said in a statement. “At this point, it has become clear to me that John Foust is our strongest choice with the best chance of helping our party win this seat and change the direction of Congress.”

Full story

EMILY’s List Endorses Debbie Dingell

EMILY’S List has endorsed Democratic National Committeewoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan to replace her husband in Congress.

Dingell is already the favorite to replace retiring Democratic Rep. John D. Dingell in Michigan’s 12th District. The only prominent candidate to consider a run backed off last week from competing in the Aug. 5 primary for the seat, which John Dingell has held since replacing his father in 1955.

But the backing by EMILY’s List, which helps Democratic women who support abortion rights, offers the potential for significant financial support should Dingell face a surprisingly competitive race.

“Debbie Dingell is a strong Democratic leader with over 30 years of experience as a business executive, and she is deeply committed to helping Michigan women and families have a fair shot,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock said in a news release. “The EMILY’s List community — now more than three million members strong — is proud to endorse this champion for Michigan to represent the 12th Congressional District.”

The general-election race is rated Safe Democrat by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

March 13, 2014

Mike Simpson Launches First TV Ad of Cycle

Rep. Mike Simpson, an eight-term Idaho Republican facing a tea-party-backed primary challenger, went up Thursday with his first TV ad of the cycle.

Seeking to bolster his conservative record ahead of the May 20 primary, the 30-second ad highlights votes Simpson has taken that tow the conservative line and labels his challenger, attorney Bryan Smith, as a “personal injury lawyer.” The ad is backed by a $27,000 buy on broadcast and cable, according to a Republican source tracking buys in the district.

“There’s no defense for personal injury lawyer Bryan Smith’s attempt to smear Mike Simpson’s conservative record,” the narrator says in ad.

Full story

Republicans Fundraise for Gay House Candidates

Some Republican House members, pundits and activists raised money this week for two openly gay House candidates running in competitive districts.

The pair, former Massachusetts state Sen. Richard Tisei and former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, teamed up in late October to create a joint political action committee, the Equality Leadership Fund, which raised more than $250,000 in the final two months of 2013.

The fund benefited from two fundraisers this week — one Monday night in Miami and another Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

“We’re … raising money across the country from people who were interested in our candidacies, because they believe we represent something different and we could be a catalyst for change in the Republican Party on issues of equality,” Tisei said in a Tuesday interview with CQ Roll Call.

Tisei is challenging Rep. John F. Tierney, D-Mass. DeMaio is taking on Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif. Full story

Young N.H. Republican Sees No Reason to Wait on House Bid (Video)

The candidate: State Rep. Marilinda Garcia.
The member: Garcia is running against former state Sen. Gary Lambert for the Republican nomination to take on freshman Democratic Rep. Ann McLane Kuster.
The district: Of New Hampshire’s two districts, the 2nd is more favorable to Democrats, as President Barack Obama won it in 2012 with 54 percent. The race is rated Leans Democratic by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Full story

Third California Democrat Endorses Wendy Greuel

Democratic Rep. Adam B. Schiff is now the third member of California’s Democratic House delegation to endorse former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel in the race for the state’s open 33rd District seat, according to a release shared first with CQ Roll Call.

“Wendy Greuel is the right choice to replace the irreplaceable Henry Waxman,” Schiff, who represents the neighboring 28th District, said in a statement Thursday. “I have worked with Wendy for more than a decade and she knows how to make government work for everyone.”

Democratic Reps. Tony Cardenas and Lucille Roybal-Allard — also LA-based members — previously endorsed Greuel.

The race to replace Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman, who announced his retirement in January, is rated a Safe Democrat contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. But under California’s top-two primary system, the district could host a competitive general-election race.

Full story

March 12, 2014

McConnell Supports Kentucky Ballot Change Pushed by Paul to Allow Multiple Candidacies

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he supports legislation passed by a Kentucky Senate committee Wednesday to change the state’s election law to allow one candidate to run in multiple federal races on the same ballot.

The law would potentially benefit current Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who is up for re-election to his Senate seat in 2016 but has his eye on a potential White House run.

“I favor that,” McConnell told CQ Roll Call in the Capitol basement Wednesday afternoon. “Did they approve that? Yeah. I think that’s a good idea.”

McConnell’s support is not a surprise given his political alliance with Paul, whose early endorsement in this year’s Senate GOP primary in the Bluegrass State has helped gird the leader against a potential primary upset from the right. Full story

By Meredith Shiner Posted at 3:33 p.m.
Republicans

Democrats Duel for Open House Seat in Iowa

Braley, right, is running for Senate and leaving a wide-open race for Democrats in the 1st District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a state that was expected to play host to multiple competitive contests this year, Democrats are dueling for the nomination — and most likely, the seat — in northeastern Iowa’s open 1st District.

The filing deadline is Friday, and House Republicans have all but written off the district to focus on the state’s other open-seat race, in the 3rd District. After a top-tier Republican recruit unexpectedly dropped out of the race, the next member of Congress from the 1st District will likely be decided by a Democratic primary on June 3.

Full story

Club for Growth PAC Backs GOP Candidate in Alaska

Chocola is the president of the Club for Growth. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Club for Growth’s political action arm announced Wednesday that it is supporting Dan Sullivan in the Republican Senate primary in Alaska.

Sullivan, a former state attorney general and Natural Resources commissioner, is one of three Republicans vying for the nomination to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, a top target of national Republicans.

In recent cycles, the club sometimes backed primary challengers to GOP incumbents and upstarts whom national Republicans do not always view as the best candidate for the race. But that’s not the case here.

Full story

Landrieu: Flood Insurance Decided Florida’s Special Election

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., said Wednesday that she believes flood insurance legislation was the deciding factor in Tuesday’s special election in Florida, not health care.

Landrieu has championed the legislation in the Senate and, as CQ Roll Call reported previously, has her own political motivations for doing so, given her own tough re-election bid in 2014. But the Louisiana Democrat said Wednesday that House GOP leaders saw the importance of the issue in the Florida gulf district and pushed through a bill, which the Senate could take up as soon as this week, to its own political benefit. Full story

By Meredith Shiner Posted at 2:15 p.m.
Democrats

Steve Israel Lobbies Alex Sink to Run in the Fall

 

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the aftermath of his party’s special election loss in Florida, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel refused to blame his candidate. Instead, he doubled down on her prospects to win in the fall.

“I believe if Alex Sink decides to run, she will win in November,” Israel said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning. “We will do everything — and I mean everything — to support her in that endeavor.”

Sink came up 2 points short Tuesday against Republican Rep.-elect David Jolly. Whether or not Sink runs again is unclear.

“I did call her last night and left a message,” Israel said. “My message was, I think she ran a great race and if this election were in November versus March, I believe she would have won, and I encouraged her to speak with us about continuing this campaign to victory in November.”

“I have not heard back from her,” he added. Full story

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