Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 1, 2014

April 29, 2013

Branstad Takes Swipe at Steve King #IAsen

Branstad Takes Swipe at Steve King #IAsen

Branstad, right, spoke to reporters on Monday morning. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad told reporters Monday morning that he advised national Republicans to recruit an “Iowa problem solver” rather than “another congressman” to run for the Hawkeye State’s open Senate seat in 2014.

The GOP governor’s comments come as Rep. Steve King, a conservative Republican, is in the final stages of deciding whether to run for retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin’s seat.

According to a recording of Branstad’s weekly news conference via Radio Iowa, he said there are several Republicans in the state who would provide a good contrast with Rep. Bruce Braley, the likely Democratic nominee. Branstad noted that King did serve in the state Senate, and said his initial comments were a shot at Braley, not King.

But Branstad also clarified that he believes having someone free from ties to an unpopular Congress would give the GOP its best chance against Braley. Full story

Gary Peters to Enter Michigan Senate Race #MIsen

Gary Peters to Enter Michigan Senate Race #MIsen

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Gary Peters will announce his campaign for Senate on Wednesday, giving Democrats a top candidate to run for the open seat in Michigan.

Peters will make the announcement in his hometown of Rochester Hills, a top Democratic aide confirmed to CQ Roll Call. However, the surrounding area in Oakland County has also proved pivotal for victory in recent statewide victories.

Democrats have the advantage to hold retiring Sen. Carl Levin’s seat. Peters is not expected to face a primary, and Republicans are still looking for a candidate. CQ Roll Call Contributing Writer Stuart Rothenberg rates this race as Safe Democrat.

Full story

April 28, 2013

Five Things to Know About Tuesday’s Massachusetts Senate Primary

Five Things to Know About Tuesdays Massachusetts Senate Primary

Markey is the frontrunner for the Democratic Senate nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two weeks after the Boston Marathon bombing, Massachusetts voters will head to the polls on Tuesday to select nominees for the Senate special election.

Whether Democrats nominate Rep. Edward J. Markey or Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, the party is heavily favored to hold the seat of former Sen. John Kerry, who was appointed secretary of state.

Three Republicans — businessman Gabriel Gomez, former U.S. Attorney Mike Sullivan and state Rep. Dan Winslow — are vying for their party’s nomination. While the race changed following the bombing, few observers see a Republican able to pull off a surprise upset in the general election on June 25.

Here are five things to watch for during Tuesday’s primaries: Full story

April 26, 2013

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: I am NOT Retiring #FL27

Ileana Ros Lehtinen: I am NOT Retiring #FL27

Ros-Lehtinen is not retiring. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., is not retiring from Congress — much to the chagrin of Democrats eyeing her increasingly competitive Miami-area seat.

After top House Democrats suggested the 12-term Republican could call it quits soon, Abby Livingston emailed the congresswoman’s press staff, expecting a boilerplate statement from her spokesman for Roll Call’s weekly Farm Team series.

Instead, an animated Ros-Lehtinen called her back personally within a couple hours. From Farm Team:

Full story

April 25, 2013

Ron Paul Backs Mark Sanford #SC01

Ron Paul Backs Mark Sanford #SC01

Paul made an endorsement Thursday in the South Carolina special election. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, endorsed former Gov. Mark Sanford’s struggling special election campaign for South Carolina’s 1st District.

The support comes after a rough two weeks on the campaign trail for Sanford, and Paul acknowledges as much in his endorsement.

“If you’re anything like me, when you hear GOP establishment types coming out of the woodwork to defeat a fellow Republican, it certainly piques your interest,” Paul wrote in a letter of support published on conservative website FitsNews.com. ”Now, even the national Republican Party is pulling funding for his race!” Full story

By Abby Livingston Posted at 5:46 p.m.
S.C.-1

Remainders: 867-5309/Jenny, Don’t Change Your Number

What you might have missed “At the Races” on Thursday …

  • #FLgov: Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla, is mulling a gubernatorial run in 2014.
  • #PA13: This blog premiered a new series, “The Candidate,” that questions the scores of congressional hopefuls who visit the CQ Roll Call offices each cycle. The first victim? State Sen. Daylin Leach, a Democrat running in a crowded primary for Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz’s seat.
  • Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel touted his recruits in a memo to his caucus. Notably missing? Former Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., who is trying to come back to Congress via the 31st District.
  • #GAsen: Former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, endorsed Rep. Paul Broun in the GOP primary to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
  • #HIsen: Tensions from the 2008 Democratic presidential primary continue through the 2014 Senate primary. Several years ago, appointed Sen. Brian Schatz backed now-President Barack Obama and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa supported Hillary Rodham Clinton. Could Bubba or Obama campaign in the Aloha State first?

What we’re mulling on Thursday …

Full story

Daylin Leach Talks Marijuana, Progressive Politics and Rock #PA13 | The Candidate

Daylin Leach Talks Marijuana, Progressive Politics and Rock #PA13 | The Candidate

Leach is running for Congress in Pennsylvania's 13th. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Editor’s note: Every year, scores of congressional candidates visit the CQ Roll Call offices to meet with reporters and Contributing Writer Stuart Rothenberg. This new blog feature, “The Candidate,” will ask these congressional hopefuls five questions about their campaigns. Responses have been edited and condensed.

Have a question for a candidate? We’ll announce their visits via Twitter, and you can tweet your inquiry to @RollCall or email politics@cqrollcall.com.

The candidate: State Sen. Daylin Leach, a Democrat.
The other candidates: State Rep. Brendan Boyle and Valerie A. Arkoosh, a medical professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, former Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, who represented part of that district two decades ago, is also considering a campaign.
The member: Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, a Democrat running for governor.
The district: Solidly Democratic 13th District in southeastern Pennsylvania.
The candidate’s team: Senior Adviser Aren Platt, Vanessa Gervasi DeRose (fundraising), Dan Fee of The Echo Group (mail), Devine Mulvey Longabaugh (media) and Marc Silverman of Thirty-Ninth Street Strategies (polling).

1. You live in a part of Upper Merion that is just outside the 13th District’s boundaries. Will you move into the district?

Leach: We’re discussing that. This is the issue: I told you I went to eight elementary schools and I lived in 14 residences. I always wanted my children to have a house that they grew up in. We live like six houses from the district. I have to consult with my family about this. Full story

Ron Paul Backs Paul Broun #GAsen

Ron Paul Backs Paul Broun #GAsen

Paul, above, is backing Broun in the Georgia Senate race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, endorsed Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., in what is shaping up to be Republicans’ widest and most unpredictable Senate primary.

“If we’re going to restore our Constitution and put our nation back on the path to prosperity, we must elect principled conservatives who will fight in Washington,” Paul, a former presidential candidate with deep tea party support, said in an email Thursday. “Paul Broun will continue fighting, and that’s why I endorsed his candidacy for U.S. Senate in Georgia.” Full story

Bill Nelson Mulls Bid for Florida Governor

Bill Nelson Mulls Bid for Florida Governor

Nelson is considering running for governor in Florida. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is considering a bid against GOP Gov. Rick Scott in 2014.

“I’d say that’s true, that he’s considering it,” said Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin. “An awful lot of people have contacted him and asked him to do so. But — and as he’s said a number of times — he presently doesn’t have any intention of running. He’s got a job to do as a senator.”

Privately, top Florida Democrats described Nelson’s consideration as “fairly serious,”as Abby Livingston reported in Roll Call’s weekly Farm Team column.

“It’s on the way to being fairly serious. I think he is going to take a very close look at it,” a senior Florida Democratic official told CQ Roll Call. “It’s not very far along. I wouldn’t tell you it’s likely … [but] I think he will really look at it.”

Full story

House Dems Tout Recruits to Caucus

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel penned a Thursday memo to the caucus boasting about their edge in recruitment and fundraising for 2014.

According to a copy of the memo obtained by CQ Roll Call, the New York Democrat outlines section-by-section how, in his view, House Democrats are on track to make gains in 2014.

“We are ahead-of-schedule on recruitment, ahead-of-expectations on fundraising, and ahead-of-the-curve on defining the Republican Congress,” Israel wrote of his second cycle leading the DCCC. Full story

Former Todd Akin Consultant Has Controversial Past | Shop Talk

Earlier this week, Abby Livingston broke the news about a major shake-up at a prominent GOP consulting firm, The Strategy Group for Media. One of the firm’s most prolific ad-makers, SGM President Nick Everhart, said he was terminated via email late on a Saturday night earlier this month.

The CEO of the firm, Rex Elsass, boasts a long client list that included seven freshmen and more than 20 incumbents from the 2012 cycle, according to SGM’s website. But he also played a big role in former Rep. Todd Akin’s bid for Senate in Missouri — a race widely viewed as one of the worst-run campaigns of the cycle. Former Todd Akin Consultant Has Controversial Past | Shop Talk

But Elsass proved himself a controversial figure in the industry long before that. Roll Call detailed Elsass’ aggressive tactics in a 2012 profile of the GOP media consultant:

In the tiny world of political consulting, reputations and history have long life spans, especially when a firm does so much business.

“When you get into the race, he’s the first guy that contacts you,” one former client said. Full story

April 24, 2013

McSally Inches Toward Rematch Against Barber #AZ02

McSally Inches Toward Rematch Against Barber #AZ02

McSally came close to beating Barber in 2012. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats got their hopes raised recently that retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally might be recruited to run for Arizona governor or to run to replace Republican Sen. John McCain in 2016 — instead of running for Congress in 2014. But it appears to be much ado about nothing.

Democrats were hoping that remarks McSally made in an amateur online video about Republicans recruiting her for other offices meant she was no longer serious about challenging Democratic Rep. Ron Barber in Arizona’s 2nd District. McSally nearly defeated Barber in the 2012 general election.

McSally seemed baffled in a phone interview about the Democratic reaction.

“I’m very strongly considering running for Congress,” she said, an almost verbatim comment she made in the video. Full story

Democrat Drops House Bid After Three Weeks #MN02

Democrat Drops House Bid After Three Weeks #MN02

One of Kline's opponents dropped out on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After just three weeks on the campaign trail, CaringBridge founder Sona Mehring told supporters Wednesday she will not challenge Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., after all.

“My campaign received tremendous support and words of encouragement,” Mehring wrote. “The level of enthusiasm and people’s confidence in me was humbling. However, I realize my true passion still was with CaringBridge.” Full story

Rand Paul, RNC Chairman Headline N.H. GOP Unity Dinner

Rand Paul, RNC Chairman Headline N.H. GOP Unity Dinner

Paul will go to New Hampshire next month for a GOP event meant to showcase party unity. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Any time a senator heads to New Hampshire for a state party event, he or she sparks presidential buzz.

But Sen. Rand Paul’s scheduled visit to the Granite State next month reveals just as much about New Hampshire Republican politics as his own national ambitions.

The state GOP’s recent electoral history demonstrates a deep divide between the tea party and more established Republicans. But in May, Paul will co-headline a dinner with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, a partnership that’s intended show unity in the party, according to New Hampshire Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Horn. Full story

Beekeeper Challenges Jeff Denham #CA10

Beekeeper Challenges Jeff Denham #CA10

Denham has a new Democratic challenger, a beekeeper and farmer from Kingsburg, Calif. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A beekeeper and farmer from Kingsburg, Calif., announced Tuesday that he will challenge GOP Rep. Jeff Denham in a Central Valley district with swing potential.

This will be Democrat Michael Eggman’s first race, but as the Sacramento Bee pointed out, he is the brother of state Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman. Full story

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 1:09 p.m.
Calif.-10

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