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

May 15, 2013

Palin Endorses in Missouri Special Election #MO08

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin endorsed Republican state Rep. Jason Smith in Missouri’s 8th District special election.

She vouched for him through her usual channel, Facebook, writing:

“Jason has worked tirelessly to build on the foundation of his humble beginnings and is a responsible and respected leader in the Show Me State. In Washington DC, Jason will maintain that innate sense of his community and will bring his commonsense conservatism to the halls of Congress. Jason recognizes that government is the problem, not the solution. He will protect our 2ndAmendment rights and work to promote a culture of life. We must all work together to send Mr. Smith to Washington on June 4th.”

While a Palin endorsement is sure to garner a candidate widespread attention, this one comes at an inconsequential time in the campaign. As the Republican nominee in a safely Republican district, Smith is already expected to cruise to a general election win on June 4.

His Democratic opponent is state Rep. Steve Hodges. This is an open-seat race to replace former Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, who resigned earlier this year.

DeMint-Linked Group Eyes Louisiana Senate Candidate

Retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness announced his candidacy this week for Senate in Louisiana, and now the PAC formerly associated with Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint is considering supporting him.

The Senate Conservatives Fund emailed supporters on Wednesday highlighting Maness and making clear that it won’t be supporting Rep. Bill Cassidy, the leading Republican in the race to take on Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu.

“We still need to vet Col. Maness to see if he’s someone SCF can support, but we’re excited about his potential,” SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins wrote. “It’s encouraging to see people run for office who aren’t career politicians and who aren’t part to the political establishment.” Full story

Heineman Consults Former Governors Who Served In Senate

As he contemplates a bid for Senate, the GOP’s top recruit — Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman — is engaging some former governors who made the same transition.

The shift from a state’s head honcho to being one of 100 is unique. The slow-moving gears and partisanship of the Senate can be frustrating for a former chief executive.

Still, they constitute about one-tenth of the Senate in the 113th Congress. That includes Nebraska Republican Mike Johanns, whose retirement next year after one term in the Senate has led to the heavy recruitment of Heineman.

“The Governor has had several positive and productive conversations with former Governors who went on to be U.S. Senators,” Heineman spokeswoman Jen Rae Hein told CQ Roll Call. “The Governor appreciates these conversations, and has found them to be insightful and valuable as he continues to contemplate his decision. Every indication is that the Governor will make his decision within the next month’s time frame.”

Full story

May 14, 2013

Romney Aide Heads to GOP Firm | Shop Talk

Longtime Mitt Romney aide Lou Tavares is a new vice president at SCM Associates, a Republican direct marketing firm.

Tavares’ work with Romney goes back seven years, to his time as general counsel during Romney’s stint as governor of Massachusetts. In the 2012 presidential campaign, Tavares held the title of staff secretary and senior adviser. He oversaw outgoing media from the campaign. Previously, he was the chief operating officer and counsel of Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC.

“I am very excited to welcome Lou Tavares to the SCM Associates team,” President Stephen C. Meyers said in a release. “His years of experience helping to manage complex national operations and cross-channel marketing programs for Mitt Romney will help us offer our clients an even more fully-integrated and consistent marketing program.”

SCM’s clients include Romney, former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown, House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Who Will Take On Ann Kirkpatrick in Arizona? | The Field

The list of Republicans lining up to challenge Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat in the marginally Republican 1st District of Arizona, is remarkably short. Among state and national Republican strategists, only one name emerges.

“All the buzz in CD 1 is centering around Adam Kwasman,” Arizona Republican political consultant Chris DeRose said. He described the field as “coalescing” around Kwasman, a 30-year-old freshman state representative.

DeRose is informally advising Kwasman but said he is not on any campaign payroll. While others worry that Kwasman is too green to challenge Kirkpatrick, he is the only name Republicans mention. Full story

Joe Sestak Files Senate Exploratory Committee for 2016

Former Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., wants another shot at the Senate seat he failed to win in 2010.

Sestak announced Tuesday that he has formed an exploratory committee for a 2016 Senate bid. It would likely be a rematch with Republican Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, who defeated Sestak by 2 points in a great year for Republicans nationally.

“The Senate needs an independent leader accountable only to ‘We the People,’ not any other interests … a leader accountable for deeds, not intentions,” Sestak said in a statement. Full story

Another Georgia Republican Closes In on Senate Race #GASEN

David Perdue, a wealthy businessman and the cousin of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, has formed an exploratory committee to run for the Peach State’s open Senate seat.

Should he run, Perdue would be the fourth Republican to enter the Senate race for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

“I am truly concerned about the direction of our country, and I don’t think we can solve our nation’s problems by electing another career politician looking for a promotion,” Perdue said in a statement. “That is why I am strongly considering a run for U.S. Senate.” Full story

May 13, 2013

Paulsen Rules Out Challenge to Franken #MNSEN

Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., on Monday ruled out running for governor or Senate for 2014, leaving Democratic Sen. Al Franken still without a challenger.

“After thinking carefully about how I can best help my fellow Minnesotans, I have decided to not seek election for a different office in 2014,” Paulsen said in a statement. “The warm encouragement from many people to run for U.S. senator or the governorship was deeply humbling. However, it is clear to me that the House is currently where I can best represent the people of my district and state.”

Paulsen had indicated some interest in the race earlier this year but was never considered likely to run. He joins fellow GOP Rep. John Kline in opting not to take on Franken in his first bid for re-election.

Mike McFadden, the head of a finance management firm, is considering challenging Franken. The senator had $2 million in cash on hand as of the end of March.

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 3:56 p.m.
Minn. Senate

Remainders: Recruitment Woes

Here’s what you may have missed “At the Races” on Monday …

  • Former Democratic Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin announced on her Facebook page that she will not seek the open Senate seat in South Dakota.
  • A GOP poll found that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has a slight lead over likely Republican Senate candidates Joe Miller and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell. Palin, however, has not indicated that she will run for the seat.
  • A crowded GOP primary in West Virginia’s 2nd District may be likely. The seat is being vacated by Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, who announced last year that she’s running for the state’s open Senate seat following Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s retirement.
  • David Schwarz, a former staffer for Republican Rep. Jack Kingston, is running for his former boss’ seat in Georgia’s 1st District. Kingston left the seat open when he announced he was running for the Peach State’s open Senate seat.

What we’re mulling on Monday …

  • Two new polls out in New Hampshire found Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., has a double-digit lead in a hypothetical match-up with former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass.
  • North Carolina state Sen. Malcolm Graham became the first candidate to announce he will run for Rep. Mel Watt’s seat. Watt was nominated by President Barack Obama to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency, although he has yet to be confirmed and has yet to resign his seat. If confirmed, Watt’s House departure would likely create a crowded special election.

Former Kingston Staffer to Run for #GA01

A former staffer for Republican Rep. Jack Kingston will announce on Wednesday that he’s running for his former boss’ seat.

David Schwarz, who served as a senior staffer for Kingston before moving to the consulting firm Pier Strategies, will become the third Republican to enter the 1st District race.

Full story

Sarah Palin Leads Senate Poll for Alaska GOP Primary

Sarah Palin Leads Senate Poll for Alaska GOP Primary

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has a small lead over two likely Republican Senate candidates in a hypothetical primary matchup, according to a GOP poll.

Palin has given no indication that she’s close to returning to public service, including next year in a challenge to Democratic Sen. Mark Begich. But the poll, conducted by GOP firm Harper Polling on behalf of the Tea Party Leadership Fund, found that a majority of Alaska Republicans still view her in a positive light.

With no indication of a Palin candidacy, the more telling news in the poll was that Joe Miller, who ran for Senate in 2010, had the worst image among the three Republicans and trailed Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell in a two-way race. Treadwell led 45 percent to 26 percent, with 29 percent unsure. Full story

Stephanie Herseth Sandlin Not Running for Senate

Senate Democrats’ primary problem in South Dakota is turning into a recruitment one.

Former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin announced Monday morning that she will not seek South Dakota’s open Senate seat — taking the party’s top recruit in the state out of the running to hold the seat of retiring Sen. Tim Johnson.

Her decision came just a few days after it became apparent that U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson, the senator’s son and Herseth Sandlin’s top possible primary contender, did not intend to run. Democrat Rick Weiland, a former aide to ex-Sen. Tom Daschle, entered the race on Wednesday. He and Johnson’s top supporter both said that Johnson would not run. Full story

Republican Primary Looms for Capito’s Seat | The Field

Republican Primary Looms for Capitos Seat | The Field

Several Republicans are looking at running for Capito's House seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The GOP field for the 2nd District has become a potentially crowded one since Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., announced her bid for Senate last year.

Several Mountain State Republicans are giving her seat a serious look, according to a handful of state and national operatives.

Here’s a look at some of Capito’s potential successors: Full story

May 10, 2013

Karen Handel Senate Run Likely in Georgia

Karen Handel Senate Run Likely in Georgia

Handel is likely to run for Senate. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Georgia Republicans expect Secretary of State Karen Handel to jump into the open-seat Senate race now that Rep. Tom Price announced he won’t run.

“I think it’s virtually guaranteed that Karen Handel is going to be announcing in the near future,” Georgia-based GOP consultant Joel McElhannon said.

A spokesman for Handel said it was unlikely she would announce her intentions at or before the state Republican convention on the weekend of May 18. In a statement released after Price’s announcement, Handel remained coy about her intentions.

“I am honored that so many people from across Georgia continue to urge me to run for US Senate, and I will let everyone know my decision in the very near future,” Handel said. Full story

Tom Price Declines Georgia Senate Bid #GASEN

 

Tom Price Declines Georgia Senate Bid #GASEN

Price announced Friday that won't run for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Georgia Rep. Tom Price said Friday that he will not run for the state’s open Senate seat.

The five-term Republican becomes the second congressman this week to opt against the race, joining Democratic Rep. John Barrow.

Full story

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