Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
May 25, 2015

September 10, 2013

GOP Poll: Rounds Holds Large Lead in Senate Contest | #SDSEN

Former Gov. Mike Rounds, a Republican, has a large lead over likely Democratic challenger Rick Weiland in South Dakota’s open Senate contest, according to an automated GOP poll released on Monday.

Rounds leads Weiland, a former aide to former Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., 58 percent to 38 percent, with 10 percent of respondents undecided, according to the survey from Harper Polling.

The open-seat contest marks one of the Senate GOP’s best pickup opportunities this cycle. Sen. Tim Johnson’s retirement announcement left his party searching for a top candidate to take on the former two-term governor.

Full story

DCCC Chief: Syria Not Big Issue in 2014 Elections

Israel is the DCCC chairman. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Democratic campaign chief told reporters Tuesday that while Capitol Hill is consumed with debate on Syria, the issue will not affect the 2014 midterms.

“2014 is not going to be a referendum on Syria,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast. Instead, he added, the 2014 midterms will be about “solutions,” helping the middle class, extremism and partisanship.

Israel declined to detail the Syria issue in his role as DCCC chairman, reiterating the committee does not endorse policy positions. Instead, he argued that many House Republicans who oppose authorization for intervention in Syria would support the same policy if Mitt Romney were president and proposed it instead of President Barack Obama. Full story

DNC Adds Staff to Press Shop

The Democratic National Committee announced Tuesday that two Capitol Hill staffers have joined its communications office.

Lily Adams will be the new DNC deputy communications director and Ian Sams is the committee’s new regional press secretary. Most recently, Adams served as press secretary to Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, and Sams served in the same capacity in the office of Sen. Thomas R. Carper. Full story

McConnell Primary Challenger Vows ‘Expensive Race’ (Video)

The candidate: Businessman Matt Bevin, a Republican
The member: Bevin is challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
The state: Kentucky hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1992 or for president since 1996, but McConnell is the top target of national Democrats in 2014. The general election is rated Republican Favored by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
The candidate’s team: Cold Spark Media is doing media and general consulting.

Louisville businessman Matt Bevin’s candidacy added another challenge for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election to a sixth term. As the top target of national Democrats, the Kentucky Republican is also working to hold off Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, the likely Democratic nominee.

On one side, McConnell is being hit for being an “obstructionist” in the Senate. But at the same time, Bevin, who announced his bid in July, says McConnell isn’t obstructionist enough. Full story

September 6, 2013

Grimm Fundraises Off Syria Vote | #NY11

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y., sent out a fundraising email Thursday, asking supporters for campaign contributions after changing his mind about authorizing targeted strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Grimm, who is facing a competitive re-election this cycle against top Democratic recruit Domenic Recchia, initially supported targeted strikes against Assad. However he changed his position on Thursday, saying he felt the time to act had already passed.

In an email to supporters that same day, Grimm solicited $25 donations.

“Will you stand with me in opposing President Obama’s plan with a donation of $25 or more right now?” Grimm asked in the email.

Full story

Frank Wolf Receives Democratic Challenger | #VA10

Attorney Richard Bolger, a Democrat, announced Friday that he will challenge longtime GOP Rep. Frank R. Wolf in Virginia’s 10th District.

“I have worked for thirty years fixing problems in our community – from protecting families’ homes from aggressive creditors, to bringing residents together to improve street safety and schools – and now I’m running for Congress to bring these same problem solving values to Washington,” Bolger said in a news release.

Democrats have long tried to oust Wolf from this Northern Virginia district, located in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. However, Wolf has coasted to victory in each of his re-election bids over the past three decades, even in recent Democratic wave years such as 2006 and 2008.

Full story

September 5, 2013

Ami Bera Draws Third GOP Challenger | #CA07 (Updated)

Updated 4:38 p.m. | Igor Birman, chief of staff to California GOP Rep. Tom McClintock, announced Thursday that he is running in California’s 7th District. That makes Birman the third Republican looking to oust freshman Democratic Rep. Ami Bera.

Birman, an immigrant who came to the U.S. as a refugee from the Soviet Union in 1994, joins former Rep. Doug Ose, R-Calif., and Elizabeth Emken in the crowded, open primary in this competitive district.

“I want to ensure that the same American Dream that brought us here is secure for future generations,” Birman said in a release. “I am very troubled that many in Washington cling to policies that have put it in great jeopardy. So I’m running for Congress because I believe that our children and grandchildren deserve better.”

Full story

Club for Growth Candidate Goes on the Air Against Boehner Ally | #ID02 (Updated)

Republican Bryan Smith is on the radio with a new ad smacking Republican Rep. Mike Simpson for not supporting a recent tea party effort to defund the 2010 health care overhaul.

A source in the campaign characterized the buy via email as a five-figure buy “on conservative talk radio across Idaho.” Idaho is a relatively inexpensive ad market.

Full story

Special-Election Candidates Start Buying TV Time in Mobile | #AL01

Wells Griffith, a Republican candidate in Alabama’s 1st District special election, went up with his first television ad on Thursday, less than a month before the Sept. 24 primary.

The 30-second “positive” spot will air on broadcast and cable stations throughout the district, and highlights Griffith’s ties to the 1st District, where his family has owned a full-service gas station for generations. The campaign spent $12,500 on the ad, according to a source with knowledge of ad buys in the district.

Full story

TV Ad Targets McConnell on Obamacare Defunding | #KYSEN (Video)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate Conservatives Fund is upping its ante against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell by launching a TV attack ad statewide.

The ad is aimed at urging the Kentucky Republican to lead an effort that seeks to tie upcoming spending bills to a push by rank-and-file Republicans to defund President Barack Obama’s health care law. Critics of that effort, including some GOP leaders, have said demanding that Obamacare be defunded as part of the spending bill debate would only shut down the government, while mandatory spending on the health care law would continue.

McConnell himself has said that shutting down the government will not accomplish the goal of stopping Obamacare.

The ad is backed by $340,000 and is running on broadcast and cable TV statewide Sept. 6-17, according to the SCF, which announced the ad buy on Thursday. It’s a follow-up to a similarly themed radio ad that the group launched last week. All told, the SCF has dumped nearly $400,000 into the race in the past two weeks. Full story

GOP Primary Field Grows to Replace Campbell | #CA45

Businessman Pat Maciariello announced Thursday that he is running to replace retiring GOP Rep. John Campbell in California’s 45th District, joining an already crowded GOP primary field in this strong Republican district.

Maciariello, a self-described political newcomer, joins state Sen. Mimi Walters, Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach and retired Marine Greg Raths in the GOP primary.

Full story

September 4, 2013

Son of Former Congressman to Challenge Tim Walz in Minnesota | #MN01

Jim Hagedorn, son of former Rep. Tom Hagedorn, R-Minn., will formally announce this afternoon that he will challenge four-term Democratic Rep. Tim Walz this cycle.

Hagedorn, a former staffer to then-Rep. Arlan Stangeland, R-Minn., lost a bid for the 1st District in a Republican primary in 2010.

Full story

Bentivolio Gets Primary Challenger in Michigan | #MI11

Republican Rep. Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan officially has a primary on his hands.

Attorney David Trott announced Wednesday morning his primary challenge against Bentivolio, a freshman who won his first term amid the chaos created when former Republican Rep. Thaddeus McCotter abruptly resigned from Congress in 2012.

Trott’s announcement came in the form of an email to supporters and made no mention of the 11th District’s incumbent.

“It’s time we fix Washington and send a leader there who will bring the best people and the best ideas from our communities together to advance our freedom-loving agenda — A leader with a proven record of job creation and problem-solving abilities — A leader with the integrity and commitment to help the district and its residents,” he wrote.

Bentivolio has gained attention on the national scene in recent weeks after advocating for the impeachment of President Barack Obama. He is mostly known in Congress for his background in reindeer ranching.

Full story

September 3, 2013

Montana Senate Field Now Cleared for Daines | #MTSEN

Former Montana state Sen. Corey Stapleton confirmed to CQ Roll Call on Tuesday that he is dropping his Senate bid to run for the House instead.

“It’s official,” he said by phone.

The exit of the last remaining Republican in a top pickup opportunity for the GOP is the latest indication that Rep. Steve Daines will run for the open Senate seat.

Stapleton appeared to let Daines’ decision slip in an earlier interview with Montana’s Lee Newspapers. But Daines spokeswoman Alee Lockman said the congressman hasn’t “made any final decision yet” and still does not have a timeline to do so. Full story

Democrat Challenges Pearce in New Mexico | #NM02

Democrat Roxanne “Rocky” Lara announced Tuesday that she will run for the nomination to challenge New Mexico’s lone Republican delegation member, Rep. Steve Pearce.

“New Mexicans deserve someone in Congress who is committed to our needs and values, but we haven’t been getting that from Washington lately,” Lara said in a release. “I’ll change that by following a straightforward principle: I will work with anyone who shares a willingness to work for a better New Mexico.”

Lara is a former Eddy County Commission chairwoman; she unsuccessfully ran for state party chair in April, according to the El Paso Times. Lara has met previously with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee about a House run, per a national Democratic operative.

New Mexico Democratic Party Chairman Sam Bregman said Lara’s entry in the race means there are two qualified candidates available to take on Pearce, pointing to attorney Leslie Endean-Singh, who previously announced  her run for the 2nd District’s Democratic nomination.

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