Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 28, 2015

October 31, 2013

New Hampshire Braces for Ayotte Race in 2016

Ayotte is serving her first term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If there’s anything to be gleaned from this week’s edition of Roll Call’s “Farm Team” series, it’s that the most exciting Senate race of 2016 could take place in New Hampshire.

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte is not even halfway through her first term, but Granite State Democrats are already sizing up their 2016 recruiting field — and state tea party activists are making noise about a primary challenge. Full story

EMILY’s List Backs Sink After Ditching Ehrlich in Florida Special Election

EMILY’s List, the organization that seeks to boost women who support abortion rights into elected office, endorsed former Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink on Thursday in the special election to replace the late C.W. Bill Young, a Republican, in Florida’s 13th District.

The endorsement comes one day after the organization removed a rival Democratic candidate — Jessica Ehrlich — from its website.

EMILY’s List had placed Ehrlich “on the list” earlier this year, before Young announced his retirement and then passed away shortly thereafter – a denotation that is often a precursor to a full-on endorsement from the organization.

Full story

October 30, 2013

Florida House Special-Election Date Scheduled

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has scheduled a special election to replace the late Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., for next year.

The primary election will be Jan. 14, and the general election will be March 11.

Young died Oct. 18. Operatives from both parties expect a highly contested and competitive race for his seat. The district narrowly voted for President Barack Obama last year, making it the first special election of the cycle that could serve as a harbinger for the 2014 midterm elections.

Former state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink joined attorney Jessica Ehrlich in the Democratic primary Wednesday morning. Soon after Sink’s announcement, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee indicated that that organization would back her over Ehrlich.

As for the Republicans, GOP political consultant Nick Zoller jumped in earlier this month, and other Republicans are giving the seat a look as well.

The Tampa Bay Times first reported the news of the special-election date.

The race is rated Tossup by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

House Candidate Removed From EMILY’s List Website (Updated)

Updated 3:24 p.m. | EMILY’s List has removed attorney Jessica Ehrlich from its online page of favored candidates — an ominous sign for the Democrat running in the highly competitive special election for Florida’s 13th District.

In May, EMILY’s List put Ehrlich “On the List” — a designation that often serves as a precursor to a candidate receiving a full-blown endorsement from the influential organization that backs female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights.

Her absence from the website suggests that some Democrats are dropping their support of Ehrlich, who is on her second bid for the district. On Wednesday morning, former Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink announced her candidacy. Sink is another favorite of EMILY’s List.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel issued a statement crowing about Sink’s entrance into the race on Wednesday morning, but it fell short of a full endorsement. Full story

McCain Takes Sides in House GOP Primary in New York

McCain has endorsed a candidate in a House race in New York. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., endorsed state Sen. Lee Zeldin’s  bid to challenge Rep. Timothy H. Bishop, D-N.Y., picking sides in a competitive GOP primary in the 1st District.

“Lee has the integrity, work ethic and sense of duty that can help make a positive difference in Washington today,” McCain said in a Wednesday news release. “Lee’s service in the military, as a federal prosecutor and in state government demonstrate his deep commitment to advancing causes greater than his own self-interest. Full story

Alex Sink Will Run in Competitive Florida House Race

Former Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink will run to replace the late Republican Rep. C.W. Bill Young in Florida’s 13th District.

“I never let politics, fingert-pointing or name-calling stand in the way of getting results for the people I represent, and it’s these results-oriented values that I want to bring to Washington,” she said in a statement. “For the sake of our economy, our businesses and our families, we have to restore problem-solving leadership.”

The announcement was widely expected. Sink, for now, does not have a clear shot at the nomination but is the Democratic front-runner. Attorney Jessica Ehrlich is also running for the seat.
A crucial group to watch in this primary is EMILY’s List. Full story

October 29, 2013

Conservative Group Attacks McConnell on TV (Updated)

McConnell is seeking re-election in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Update 12:03 p.m. | The Senate Conservatives Fund announced Tuesday that it will air a 30-second attack ad against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, accusing the Kentucky Republican of wavering in his fight against the president’s health care law during the government shutdown debate.

“Conservatives asked Mitch McConnell to lead the fight against Obamacare. He didn’t listen,” the 30-second ad says. “Instead, McConnell helped Barack Obama and Harry Reid fund Obamacare. Now Kentucky families are paying the price. Premiums up, lost coverage, even lost jobs. When Kentucky needed Mitch McConnell the most, he let us down. Now he’s asking us to give him six more years in Washington?”

http://youtu.be/VKBTQhTTUnY Full story

Chamber of Commerce Battles Tea Party in Alabama Special Election

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a group that regularly spends millions to boost business-friendly congressional candidates, will endorse former state Sen. Bradley Byrne in Alabama’s 1st District special election on Tuesday.

The chamber will endorse Byrne over GOP businessman Dean Young, a social conservative whose views align with the tea party movement, in the Nov. 5 GOP primary runoff to replace former Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala.

The Byrne endorsement marks the chamber’s first big move to combat tea party conservatives in the GOP whom they blame — along with many Americans — for the shutdown of the U.S. government earlier this month.

Full story

Democratic Candidate Says Gitmo Experience Is Not a Liability (Video)

Cannon is running in a competitive House district in Michigan. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The candidate: Ret. Army Major General Jerry Cannon, a Democrat.
The member: Rep. Dan Benishek, a two-term Republican.
The district: In 2012, Benishek defeated Democratic challenger Gary McDowell by less than 2,000 votes in this Upper Peninsula district. Mitt Romney carried the district with 54 points.
The candidate’s team: Travis Lowe and Clare Gannon of Three Point Media (media), Al Quinlan and Andrew Baumann of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (polling), Terry Walsh at The Strategy Group (mail).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K40bWSQfws Full story

October 28, 2013

Republicans Stampede Open Alabama House Seat

Bachus is retiring at the end of this Congress. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

State Rep. Paul DeMarco announced Sunday night that he is running for Congress in Alabama’s 6th District, marking the third Republican candidate to enter the race to replace retiring GOP Rep. Spencer Bachus.

The race to replace Bachus was expected to be crowded, as the powerful former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee has represented the district for 11 terms. But the GOP race for this seat blew wide open after state Sen. Cam Ward, Bachus’ former district director, declined to run for the seat earlier this month, saying he wanted to focus on his young family. Full story

Senate Conservatives Fund Backs Maness in Louisiana Senate Race

Cassidy is running for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate Conservatives Fund has endorsed retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness over Rep. Bill Cassidy in Louisiana’s GOP primary for Senate, throwing its support behind a conservative underdog in one of the cycle’s most competitive races.

“Colonel Rob Maness … understands the value of our freedoms and will fight to repeal Obamacare and stop the massive spending, bailouts, and debt that are bankrupting our country,” said Matt Hoskins, the executive director of Senate Conservatives Fund, in a Monday news release. “He offers voters a compelling choice over Senator Mary Landrieu because he’s not a Washington insider.”

Cassidy and Maness are looking to unseat three-term Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, a top target for Republicans in 2014. Some local Republicans have criticized Cassidy’s conservative credentials, meanwhile a couple local lawmakers are considering jumping into the GOP primary as well.

Landrieu has won three Senate terms in a state that GOP presidential candidates have carried in every presidential cycle since 2000.

The Louisiana Senate race is rated a Tossup by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Montana Democrat Sets $2 Million Fundraising Goal (Video)

The candidate: Democrat John Lewis, a former top aide to Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.
The member: Freshman Rep. Steve Daines, a Republican who represents the at-large district and is most likely running for Senate in 2014. Both parties expect an open race for this House seat in 2014.
The state:
Last cycle, Mitt Romney won Montana by more than a 13-point margin and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., won re-election by 4 points. But Republicans have held onto the state’s sole House seat for the past 17 years.
The candidate’s team
: Aaron Murphy (communications director), Barrett Kaiser (manager), Bob Funk (deputy manager), Geoff Garin of Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group (pollster), Mattis Goldman of Three Point Media (media), Colleen Martin (finance director).

Former Capitol Hill aide John Lewis, a Democrat, predicted he will need at least $2 million to “have a chance” next year at Montana’s at-large seat — a district Republicans have held for nearly two decades.

“There’s going to be, as we saw last year, a flood of outside money,” Lewis told Roll Call in a Oct. 9 interview. “Montana is cheap airwaves. No one saw more outside money than Montana last year. … I’m going to have to raise at least $2 million to have a chance.” Full story

Top Republican Explores Rematch Against Tierney

Tisei, above, will likely challenge Tierney again. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former state Sen. Richard Tisei, a Republican, announced on Monday that he has formed an exploratory committee for a rematch with Rep. John F. Tierney in Massachusetts’ 6th District.

Republicans anticipated Tisei was eyeing another run against Tierney, the vulnerable Massachusetts Democrat who squeaked out a win last year by a 1-point margin.

Full story

October 25, 2013

Democrat Will Hire Cybersecurity Firm for Alleged Website Hack (Video)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

The candidate: Tompkins County Council Chairwoman Martha Robertson, a Democrat.
The member: Rep. Tom Reed, a Republican.
The district: New York’s 23rd District is a competitive seat. Voters picked GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012 by a 1-point margin, and in 2008 they elected President Barack Obama by the same margin.
The candidate’s team: Snyder Pickerill (media); Normington, Petts, and Associates (polling); The Strategy Group (mail).

Full story

October 24, 2013

John Boehner Gets Democratic Challenger

Boehner has a new challenger. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Miami University of Ohio professor Tom Poetter announced this week that he will challenge Speaker John A. Boehner in Ohio’s 8th District, marking the first Democrat to try to oust the top House Republican this cycle.

Poetter, an education professor at Miami University, has also directed the university’s Partnership Office, which helps the university reach out to the surrounding community.

Full story

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