Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 16, 2014

November 7, 2012

California: Plenty of Turnover in House Delegation

California: Plenty of Turnover in House Delegation

Rep. Mary Bono Mack's race was one of a few in California that hadn't been called as of Wednesday morning. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

California was truly the home of Congressional competition this cycle, as more than one-fifth of its House delegation will be new in the next Congress.

With several races still to be called, the state could elect as many as 12 new Members. That’s stunning movement for the country’s largest delegation, which has seen remarkably little turnover in the past decade.

Democrats hoped to net several seats in the Golden State this cycle, though gauging their success was still difficult Wednesday morning because several races remained too close to call. Full story

Blue Dogs Live to Fight Another Day, Despite Some Defeats

Blue Dogs Live to Fight Another Day, Despite Some Defeats

Blue Dog Democrat John Barrow won re-election, surprising some who thought his newly drawn district would doom his bid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s been two tough cycles for conservative Blue Dog Democrats, but amidst the dark clouds — three caucus members lost — there were some very bright spots for the battered breed on Election Day.

Democratic Reps. John Barrow (Ga.) and Jim Matheson (Utah) pulled out re-election victories, despite running in reconfigured and heavily Republican districts. And Rep. Mike McIntyre (N.C.) looked poised for victory in another Republican district, although the Associated Press had not called the race by Wednesday morning. All three are Blue Dog Democrats who managed to localize their contests and run as conservatives, not letting national issues sweep them away. Full story

Minnesota: Michele Bachmann Squeaks Out a Win

Minnesota: Michele Bachmann Squeaks Out a Win

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) will be returning to Capitol Hill in the 113th Congress, after eking out re-election by a narrow margin against businessman Jim Graves (D).

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Bachmann led Graves by just 3,230 votes — 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent for Graves. That’s a far less comfortable margin than Bachmann, who abandoned a presidential bid earlier this year, is used to. In 2010, she won by nearly 40,000 votes and got 52.5 percent.

In her presidential bid, Bachmann, who is a tea party hero and a lightning rod for the left, posted a surprising win in the 2011 Ames straw poll. But she dropped out of the presidential race in January, after her campaign cratered and she placed sixth in the Iowa caucuses in the state where she was born. Full story

California: Brad Sherman Beats Howard Berman

California: Brad Sherman Beats Howard Berman

Rep. Howard Berman, left, lost to fellow Democrat Brad Sherman in California. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It was ugly. It was expensive. It was physical. And now it’s over.

Rep. Brad Sherman defeated fellow Democratic Rep. Howard Berman in California’s reconfigured 30th district.

Just before 5:00 a.m. ET, Berman released a statement conceding to Sherman.

“Brad Sherman will be the next Congressman from the 30th Congressional District,” Berman said. “I congratulate Brad and my friend Tony Cardenas who will have the honor and solemn responsibility of representing the San Fernando Valley in the 113th Congress. I wish both of them the best of luck and the wisdom and strength to confront and overcome the challenges that face our nation. I will do whatever I can to ensure a cooperative and orderly transition.”

With 28 percent of precincts reporting, Sherman had 60 percent to Berman’s 40 percent.

Nevada: Dean Heller Prevails Over Shelley Berkley in Senate Race

Nevada: Dean Heller Prevails Over Shelley Berkley in Senate Race

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Dean Heller (R) was able to overcome President Barack Obama’s Nevada coattails and defeat Rep. Shelley Berkley (D).

The Associated Press called the race around 4 a.m., with Heller leading by about 1 point.

The Silver State race is one of the few disappointments for Democrats on the Senate map this year. It was expected that Obama would have to carry the state by a large margin for Berkley to win. He won by more than 6 points, but it was not enough for Berkley.

Heller, who was appointed to the Senate last year, was thought to be especially vulnerable because he voted for Rep. Paul Ryan’s controversial budget blueprint as both a Member of the House and Senate.

North Dakota: This Might Take a While

Former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) held a slim lead over her opponent, Rep. Rick Berg (R), in the race for North Dakota’s open Senate seat.

Heitkamp led Berg by about 3,500 votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press.

Not so fast. Berg’s team announced early Wednesday morning that he wants to wait until the vote canvass finishes next week.

“This is a very close election, which is why North Dakota has a process in place to properly count each ballot and officially certify the result,” Berg spokesman Chris Van Guilder wrote in a press release. “This canvassing process will certify the election and provide an official result. The Berg for Senate campaign will await the results of the canvassing process before making any other announcements regarding the status of the election.”

A Heitkamp spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.

Nonetheless, the count might not end after the canvass. According to North Dakota election law, there’s an automatic recount if the apparent victor wins by less than 0.5 percent of his or her vote total.

It gets even more complicated. North Dakota is the only state without voter registration, so it’s ripe for legal complaints in a tight race such as this one.

Several Ex-House Members Coming Back

Several Ex House Members Coming Back

Ex-Rep. Alan Grayson is headed back to Congress in January. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

UPDATED 4:00 a.m. | At least eight former House Members will return to Congress next year, and five of them are Democrats who were defeated in the GOP wave of 2010.

Two ex-lawmakers defeated the person who ousted them from office last cycle. In New Hampshire, former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) defeated freshman Rep. Frank Guinta (R) and ex-Rep. Dan Maffei (D) defeated Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R) in New York. In Illinois, former Rep. Bill Foster (D) ousted one of his ex-colleagues, Rep. Judy Biggert (R), although it was not a rematch from 2010

Two other former Members won open seats that were drawn to elect Democrats. Former Rep. Alan Grayson (D), a lightning rod for the GOP, easily won in Florida and and Dina Titus (D) won in Nevada. Full story

Utah: Jim Matheson Survives Mia Love Challenge

Utah: Jim Matheson Survives Mia Love Challenge

Mia Love lost to Rep. Jim Matheson in Utah's 4th district. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Jim Matheson (D) overcame several hurdles Tuesday to win re-election over rising GOP star Mia Love.

Love congratulated Matheson, according to a statement from her campaign.

Over the course of the campaign, Matheson had to introduce himself to new voters in a new seat gerrymandered to elect a Republican. Meanwhile, he had to defend himself against GOP charges that he was allied with President Barack Obama, who is unpopular in Utah, and deal with a headwind from GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who is popular in the state.

Matheson succeeded.

Marco Rubio: GOP Needs to Broaden Appeal to Minorities

Marco Rubio: GOP Needs to Broaden Appeal to Minorities

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) — a top surrogate for failed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney — said early this morning that his party needs to be more inclusive of “minority and immigrant communities who are trying to make it.”

President Barack Obama won by huge margins across the country with Hispanic and African-American voters, just days after telling the Des Moines Register that if he were to win “a big reason … is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community.”

Rubio, a prominent Cuban politician considered in the mix for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, released a statement calling out his party on its failures this cycle with minority and immigrant voters, perhaps setting the stage for future elections and work on immigration reform next Congress.

“Now comes the hard part. America faces monumental challenges in putting people back to work, reducing our crushing debt and advancing our interests around the world,” Rubio said.

Full story

New Hampshire: Carol Shea-Porter to Return to Congress

Former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) defeated Rep. Frank Guinta (R) Tuesday night, according to Associated Press projections.

Shea-Porter was an underdog for most of the cycle — but her hopes were very much tied to President Barack Obama’s performance in the Granite State. Even some Democrats were dubious of her chances of returning to Congress.

But Obama is on track to win by more than 5 points, and Shea-Porter corrected one of her biggest weaknesses in the third quarter: fundraising.

This means that New Hampshire will continue its 18-year tradition of sending two Members from the same party to Congress. But also, New Hampshire will have an entirely female House and Senate delegation, along with a female governor.

Mixed Verdict in New York House Races

Mixed Verdict in New York House Races

Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle lost her re-election race Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Both Democratic and Republican Members of Congress were unseated Tuesday night in the House battleground state of New York.

Former Rep. Dan Maffei (D) unseated freshman Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R), just two years after Buerkle beat Maffei. With 91 percent of precincts reporting, Maffei had 50 percent to Buerkle’s 42 percent in the 24th district, according to the Associated Press.

Businessman and former Erie County Executive Chris Collins (R) beat Rep. Kathy Hochul (D) in the state’s most Republican district, the 27th. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Collins had 51 percent to Hochul’s 49 percent, the AP said.

And freshman Rep. Nan Hayworth (R) was unseated by attorney Sean Patrick Maloney (D) in the 18th district. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Hayworth had 48 percent to Maloney’s 51 percent, the AP said.

Other incumbents in tough races survived. Freshman Rep. Chris Gibson (R) will be coming back to Congress, despite a more Democratic district. Rep. Bill Owens (D) won a tight rematch against Republican investment banker Matt Doheney. Rep. Tim Bishop (D) won a rematch against Republican businessman Randy Altschuler. And freshman Rep. Michael Grimm (R) won an easy re-election in his Staten Island-anchored district.

Left for Politically Dead, John Tierney Wins 9th Term

Left for Politically Dead, John Tierney Wins 9th Term

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Written off by both parties, buffeted by a tornado of innuendo about his in-laws’ offshore gambling operation and hammered by millions of dollars of outside spending from Republican groups, Democratic Rep. John Tierney defied the odds and won a tight re-election victory Tuesday night in Massachusetts’ 6th district.

He beat former state Sen. Richard Tisei (R), who now joins a big group of Bay State GOP challengers who have fallen short. In fact, no Massachusetts Republican has won a seat in the House since 1994.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press had Tierney taking 48.4 percent to Tisei’s 47.1 percent.

In the final months of the race, the narrative war was largely fought on Tisei’s turf, with ads from both sides focused on Tierney’s in-laws’ legal problems.

But on Election Day, the Tierney campaign — in concert with the state party and Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren’s campaign — pushed hard to turn out Democratic voters, particularly in Gloucester, Lynn and Salem. That well-crafted effort appeared to have paid off, pushing Tierney over the top after trailing in recent polling.

Texas: Francisco ‘Quico’ Canseco Goes Down

Texas: Francisco Quico Canseco Goes Down

(Douglas Graham CQ/Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco (R) lost his bid for a second term Tuesday night.

Democratic challenger Pete Gallego was up by more than 5 points at the time the Associated Press called the race.

Throughout the cycle, Texas Republicans were cautiously confident in Canseco’s chances for a second term. But in the past week or so, confidence levels seemed to subside some.

Gallego has, at times, run a disorganized campaign during the past year, but it was enough to win this race.

Iowa: Tom Latham Defeats Leonard Boswell in Member-Vs.-Member Race

Iowa: Tom Latham Defeats Leonard Boswell in Member Vs. Member Race

Rep. Tom Latham won in the 3rd district's Member-vs.-Member race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tom Latham (R) defeated his colleague, Rep. Leonard Boswell (D), in their 3rd district matchup tonight.

Latham had an 8-point lead over his Democratic opponent with 93 percent of precincts reporting in the southwestern Iowa district, according to the Associated Press.

A top ally of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Latham raised considerably more money than Boswell did. But the Democrat had a geographical advantage in this Tossup race, with more of his old district included in the new one.

Boswell’s defeat marks the first Member to lose to a colleague tonight.

In Ohio, Rep. Jim Renacci (R) leads Rep. Betty Sutton (D) in the 16th district by a slim 4-point margin, but with only 57 percent of precincts reporting. The Associated Press has not called that race yet.

Wisconsin: Tammy Baldwin Wins Senate Race

Wisconsin: Tammy Baldwin Wins Senate Race

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrat Tammy Baldwin made history tonight, winning in Wisconsin to become the first openly gay candidate elected to the Senate.

In one of the most expensive and bruising races in the country, Baldwin defeated former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R), the establishment favorite who narrowly won a four-way August primary.

Baldwin was able to ride the coattails of President Barack Obama, who won the Badger State, after mounting an extraordinarily effective media strategy that turned the tables on Thompson early in the general election. Her team was able to take Thompson’s high statewide name recognition and popularity and flip it on its head. She spent millions of dollars to paint the former Health and Human Services secretary as an out-of-touch Washington lobbyist who was “no longer for” Wisconsin.

Both Thompson and Baldwin were more unpopular with Wisconsin voters than they were popular in the closing days of the race, but clearly Badger State voters decided the Republican’s branding of Baldwin as “too extreme” was less damaging than the Democrat’s attack of Thompson.

“We nominated more women candidates than ever. We placed confidence every day and we never let up and now Joe Donnelly and Tammy Baldwin and Tim Kaine … they’re all coming to join us in the Senate,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (Wash.) told a ballroom of supporters, well before the Wisconsin race was even called.

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