Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 22, 2014

June 27, 2013

John Campbell to Retire From House #CA45

Five-term Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., announced on Thursday that he will retire at the end of his term, citing a desire to start a new chapter in his life after 14 years in elected office.

“At the end of this term, I will have spent 14 years serving in full-time, elected politics. I am not nor did I ever intend to be a career politician,” Campbell said in a statement. “I am ready to begin a new chapter in my life.” Full story

Democrats Run for Watt’s Seat Amid Rocky Confirmation Process #NC12

Democrats Run for Watts Seat Amid Rocky Confirmation Process #NC12

Watt has been nominated to a post in the Obama administration. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate Banking Committee started confirmation hearings on Thursday for Rep. Melvin Watt, D-N.C., the president’s nominee to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Watt’s confirmation is uncertain for the role as regulator of bailed out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But that hasn’t stopped several Democratic candidates from starting their campaigns in earnest for his seat in the 12th District.

State Sen. Malcolm Graham and state Reps. Alma Adams and Marcus Brandon will run for Watt’s seat if he’s confirmed, according to two local Democratic consultants. Graham and Brandon have already set up exploratory committees and are actively raising funds. Brandon has also sent out direct mail in the district, according to one Democratic operative.

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LePage Won’t Run for Congress #ME02

LePage Wont Run for Congress #ME02

Michaud is exploring a run for governor. (Joshua Miller/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Embattled Maine Gov. Paul R. LePage said Thursday he will not run for Congress in the 2nd District, according to local reports.

Earlier this month, Democratic Rep. Michael H. Michaud launched an exploratory committee to challenge LePage for governor in in 2014. If Michaud officially enters the governor’s race, the 2nd District would be open in 2014.

LePage, a Republican, told reporters last week that he was considering running for Michaud’s seat, after a difficult week in the state capital.

Full story

Democrats Target Cotton on TV in Arkansas #ARSEN

A Democratic outside group launched a TV ad in Arkansas on Thursday targeting GOP Rep. Tom Cotton, a potential Senate candidate.

The ad, which will air statewide for the next two weeks, portrays the freshman Republican as someone “out for himself, not us.” A source said the total ad buy from the affiliated groups Senate Majority PAC and Patriot Majority USA is for about $270,000.

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Quayle Rules Out 2014 Run for Anything

Quayle Rules Out 2014 Run for Anything

Quayle said he won't run for office in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Ben Quayle, R-Ariz., is not running for public office anytime soon — especially next year.

“On the political side, there’s nothing on the radar for me right now,” Quayle told CQ Roll Call in a Wednesday phone interview. “2014 is definitely not happening, but who knows what’ll happen sometime down the road.” Full story

June 26, 2013

Rick Perry Signs Texas Congressional Map Into Law

Rick Perry Signs Texas Congressional Map Into Law

Perry signed the interim map into law on Wednesday. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has signed the Lone Star State’s new congressional map into law, ending the state’s long and twisted redistricting saga of the 2012 cycle.

A Perry aide confirmed to CQ Roll Call that the GOP governor inked the House district boundaries, passed by the legislature in a special session, on Wednesday afternoon.

The governor’s approval comes one day after the Supreme Court gutted a provision in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that forced Texas to seek federal approval for any changes to its voting laws — including its congressional maps. The state was one of several covered by Section 5 because, according to the original law, it had a history of discrimination in its voting practices. Full story

Wendy Davis for Congress? Not so Fast

Nothing could sit Wendy Davis down during an 11-hour filibuster on the Texas Senate floor Tuesday night. But the state’s Republican lean may put a ceiling on her immediate political future — at least in 2014.

There is both a Senate and gubernatorial race in Texas next year, but a Democrat hasn’t been elected to either office since 1990. Still, the state’s booming population and demographic shifts have enticed the party to launch preparations for a potentially competitive statewide race. The only question is how soon an opportunity will come.

“To win statewide in Texas, it’s beyond having a good candidate,” said Lone Star Project director Matt Angle, a Davis ally. “You don’t necessarily want to encourage somebody to run unless you are sure that the infrastructure and the financial support are there for them.” Full story

Crowded Race Forms for Markey’s House Seat #MA05

Special elections in the Bay State might not be that special anymore.

Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey defeated GOP nominee Gabriel Gomez in Tuesday’s special election for former Sen. John Kerry’s seat. His victory kicks off yet another special contest to fill the seat he’ll vacate in the 5th District — the third special election in as many years in Massachusetts.

Starting months ago, a handful of Democrats announced their candidacies for this imminent House race. That’s because, in part, open seats are rare in the commonwealth’s congressional delegation. Markey held his deep-blue seat in the Boston suburbs since 1976.

Full story

Iowa, Illinois GOP Chairmen Form New Firm | Shop Talk

Two former state GOP chairmen announced on Tuesday they formed a new Chicago-based venture, New Generation Public Affairs Inc.

Former Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn and former Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady joined with Chicago-area businessman Bob Fitzsimmons to create the new firm that will, according to a release, “have a distinctive upper Midwest focus and initial offices in Chicago and Des Moines.”

Their announcement comes about a month after Brady resigned from his post following his declaration of support for same-sex marriage — an announcement that angered some local party members. After three productive years at the state party, Strawn left his role earlier this year in the midst of continued fallout from the GOP’s handling of the Iowa caucuses.

The three principals’ portfolios will include: Full story

June 25, 2013

Markey Wins Senate Special Election #MASEN

Markey Wins Senate Special Election #MASEN

(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After more than 36 years representing Massachusetts in the House, Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey will be the commonwealth’s next senator.

Backed by millions of dollars in air and ground support from national Democrats, the eighth-longest-tenured House member succeeded in holding the seat of Democrat John Kerry, who resigned to become secretary of State earlier this year.

In Tuesday’s special election, The Associated Press called the race for Markey with 82 percent of precincts reporting. At that point, Markey led Republican Gabriel Gomez, 54 percent to 45 percent. Full story

Cory Booker Airs First TV Ad #NJSEN

Newark Mayor Cory Booker went on the air Tuesday with his first television ad in the special election for Senate in New Jersey.

His first spot, “Run,” is a positive one that touts his record as mayor.

Full story

4 Effects of Voting Rights Ruling on 2014 Midterms

The Supreme Court’s landmark ruling to gut the 1965 Voting Rights Act will change the country’s politics. And in some cases, the change could come as soon as 2014.

On the surface, the ruling now allows certain states to make changes to their voting laws without federal approval. But the political implications will reach beyond those states, especially as Democrats try to use the decision to energize minority voters for the midterm elections.

On Tuesday, the high court ruled unconstitutional a key part, Section 4, of the Voting Rights Act. That provision detailed the formula used to decide which states must have pre-clearance from the federal government before making changes to voting laws because, according to the now-voided provision, those jurisdictions had a history of discrimination.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. described the Section 4 coverage formula as outdated in his majority opinion, calling on Congress to develop a new way to pick which states must get federal approval. But it’s unlikely the House and Senate will pass something soon, given the contentious nature of voting rights and the gridlock on Capitol Hill.

As a result, it’s likely no state will have to seek federal approval to change its voting laws in the immediate future.

To be sure, the high court’s ruling will have a greater effect in the long term. For example, in 2020, states previously covered by the law’s Section 5 won’t have to get federal approval for their redrawn congressional maps, giving local officials new leeway to draw district boundaries. Those new maps will take effect in 2022.

But voters could see the effects of this week’s ruling much sooner as well. Here are four ways the ruling could play into the 2014 midterms: Full story

James Carville Fundraises for Embattled Democrat #FL26

Democratic strategist James Carville authored a fundraising solicitation for freshman Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., a couple of weeks after the congressman’s  former chief of staff resigned over a political scandal.

Carville made no mention of the aide’s issues, portraying Garcia as a likely future victim of Republican super PACs in the Tuesday morning missive. Garcia has denied any involvement in his former aide’s legal woes. Full story

GOP Lawmaker Challenges Loebsack #IA02

GOP Lawmaker Challenges Loebsack #IA02

Loebsack has a new GOP challenger. (Tricia Miller/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

State Rep. Mark Lofgren, a Republican, announced Tuesday that he will challenge four-term Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, in the 2nd District, according to local reports.

Lofgren marks Loebsack’s first challenger, but news reports say that Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks is eyeing a run as well.

Full story

Pro-McConnell Super PAC Hits Airwaves #KYSEN

A super PAC supporting the re-election of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell launched its first TV ad of the cycle on Tuesday.

The $260,000 ad buy from Kentuckians for Strong Leadership targets a prospective McConnell challenger, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who has yet to announce whether she will run. The ad ties Grimes to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama.

Watch “Rubber Stamp” here:

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