Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 20, 2014

June 19, 2013

Brian Schweitzer Wants You to Know He Hates Washington, D.C. #MTSEN

In Washington, D.C., the “traffic is bad,” “most of the people you talk to are frauds” and Georgetown “sucks,” at least according to former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

Schweitzer, a possible Democratic candidate for Senate, called CQ Roll Call on Monday to chat after we reached out to a source close to him for comment on this story.

Schweitzer would be favored to win if he decided to run for the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Max Baucus. Of course, he didn’t say much in the five-minute interview and boasted as much at its conclusion.

The Big Sky Democrat is no stranger to national politics: He had a prime speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention, plus he once served as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. But in the interview, Schweitzer highlighted his outsider status, downplaying connections to party leadership in Washington or any interest in the city itself.

Here is an excerpt from the Q&A with Schweitzer:

Full story

Rush Holt: ‘I’m No Cory Booker’ (Video)

Rep. Rush D. Holt of New Jersey says he’s “no Cory Booker” in an introductory video to launch his new Senate campaign website.

Booker, the mayor of Newark, is the heavy favorite in the four-candidate Democratic primary on Aug. 13. Holt’s video concedes that fact and attempts to explain why he would “run for Senate against Cory Booker.”

Full story

Another Republican Is Running for Bachmann’s Seat #MN06

The GOP primary for Minnesota’s 6th District became more crowded this week, when state Sen. John Pederson filed federal paperwork to run for the seat.

Pederson is the third Republican to enter the primary after GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann announced her retirement last month.

Former state Rep. Tom Emmer, who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2010, announced earlier this month that he will seek Bachmann’s seat. Emmer was followed into the race by Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah, who announced last week that she too is running in the GOP primary. Full story

June 18, 2013

3 Ways to Rule on the Voting Rights Act

The Supreme Court is expected to rule next week on Section 5 of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, which requires certain states with a history of discrimination to get federal approval for any changes to voting laws.

The ruling could have wide impact on how states such as Texas apportion their congressional districts, among other state laws governing the most basic franchise of citizenship.

According to election law experts from both parties, here are the three most likely ways the court decision could come down:

Full story

Retiring Baucus Donates $100K to DSCC

Retiring Baucus Donates $100K to DSCC

Baucus will retire next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., cut a $100,000 check on Tuesday to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, according to a source familiar with his campaign.

Baucus had nearly $4.9 million in his campaign account as of March 30, three weeks before announcing he would not seek a seventh term. He donated $470,000 to the DSCC last cycle, according to Center for Responsive Politics, not counting the money he raised on the committee’s behalf. Full story

Cory Booker Hires Another Obama Alumnus #NJSEN | Shop Talk

Cory Booker Hires Another Obama Alumnus #NJSEN | Shop Talk

Booker hired more staff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Newark Mayor Cory Booker announced he hired another veteran of President Barack Obama’s campaign team to join his Senate campaign in New Jersey.

Addisu Demissie will manage Booker’s bid for the special election, according to a Tuesday news release. He joins several other former hired hands for Obama: strategists Mitch Stewart and Jeremy Bird, polling firm Benenson Strategy Group and campaign spokesman Kevin Griffis. Full story

Rounds Hires More Staff for Senate Bid #SDSEN | Shop Talk

Former Gov. Mike Rounds hired Jason Williams as his statewide coalitions director for his Senate campaign, according to a Tuesday announcement.

Williams has worked on several South Dakota campaigns, including as Rep. Kristi Noem’s coalitions director when she defeated former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, a Democrat, in 2010.

“Jason believes in the importance of personal relationships at the local level,” Rounds said in a release. “Very few individuals understand the effort like he does. We’re grateful to have Jason on board — he’s a tremendous asset.” Full story

Republican Announces Begich Challenge #AKSEN

Republican Announces Begich Challenge #AKSEN

Begich has a new GOP challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell formally announced Tuesday that he will challenge Democratic Sen. Mark Begich next year.

His candidacy, which has been expected for some time, gives Republicans a top-tier opponent in one of the party’s best pickup opportunities in the country.

“I’ve met with community and business leaders, elected officials, and my party’s grassroots volunteers from all across Alaska,” Treadwell said in a statement. “In Washington, D.C., I’ve met with members of the U.S. Senate and respected national organizations and groups that share my core conservative values. I’ve talked and prayed with my family. Their responses have been positive and encouraging.” Full story

McCaskill Backs Clinton for President PAC #2016

McCaskill Backs Clinton for President PAC #2016

McCaskill backed a 2016 PAC's efforts. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A political action committee created to encourage Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for president received its first congressional endorsement on Tuesday.

In a statement released by Ready for Hillary PAC, which launched shortly after the 2012 elections, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill endorsed the group’s effort to lay a political groundwork for the former secretary of State to have at the ready should she decide to run.

McCaskill, who was an early endorser of President Barack Obama in the 2008 campaign, called the effort “critical” to Clinton’s potential for success in 2016. Full story

Republican Embraces ‘Bachmann 2.0′ Label #MN06 | The Candidate

Republican Embraces Bachmann 2.0 Label #MN06 | The Candidate

Emmer is running for Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The candidate: Republican Tom Emmer, a former state representative who ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor in Minnesota in 2010, now seeking the 6th District.
The other candidates: Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah, a Republican. A Democratic environmental activist, Judy Adams, announced her bid after hotel magnate Jim Graves dropped out of the contest.
The member: Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, who announced in May that she will retire at the end of this term.
The district: Republican-leaning Minneapolis exurbs, which have experienced significant population growth from young, conservative families. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney won the 6th District’s vote with 56 percent.
The candidate’s team: Emmer is in the process of forming his team.

1. A few of my Minnesota sources described you as the  “Bachmann 2.0” candidate. How are you similar to Bachmann? How are you different? Full story

June 17, 2013

Kentucky Governor Mulls Redistricting Do-Over (Updated)

Updated 5:45 p.m. | Kentucky Democratic Gov. Steven L. Beshear said his state might have to redo its 2012 redistricting map, according to The Associated Press.

At issue is whether prison inmates ought to be included in district counts. Inmates were included in congressional lines but not state legislative lines. Beshear is seeking “to make sure all of them are done on a consistent basis,” per the AP.

The current map was designed for incumbent protection. Even so, one incumbent went home after the 2012 elections: Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler.

Full story

Rep. Tim Walz Has First Republican Challenger #MN01

Democratic Rep. Tim Walz officially has a Republican opponent in Minnesota’s 1st District.

Republican state Rep. Mike Benson announced on Monday that he will run against Walz in 2014, according to a local report.

Benson’s declaration comes on the heels of Republican state Sen. Jeremy Miller’s announcement that he will not challenge Walz for the seat. Miller said he was approached to run but decided against a bid after consulting his family, according to local reports.

Full story

Democrats Tie Republican to Romney in Special Election #MASEN

With a new poll showing Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., pulling away, yet another outside group spot is hitting GOP nominee Gabriel Gomez in the Massachusetts Senate special election.

The new Senate Majority PAC advertisement, released on Monday, ties Gomez to Mitt Romney, the former Bay State governor and presidential nominee whose business background was tarnished in early 2012 ads. The ad is part of a $1 million media buy from the group, contributing to the overwhelming spending advantage Markey and his Democratic allies enjoy in this race.

Full story

Exclusive: Peter Roskam Expands Political Operation | Shop Talk

Exclusive: Peter Roskam Expands Political Operation | Shop Talk

Roskam is expanding his political operation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A top House Republican, Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois, will expand his political operation in the coming weeks by dispatching his longtime top aide to the campaign trail.

Steven Moore, Roskam’s chief of staff for more than six years, confirmed to CQ Roll Call that he will leave Capitol Hill for a full-time position with the chief deputy whip’s political operation. He will focus on helping rank-and-file members — many of whom are from safe GOP districts — with fundraising and grass roots, while keeping an early eye on next year’s primaries.

Full story

June 14, 2013

Cory Booker Signs Up Two More Obama Veterans #NJSEN | Shop Talk

Newark Mayor Cory Booker continues to tap into the Obama campaign apparatus, for his nascent New Jersey Senate special election campaign, hiring a grass-roots organizing team led by two former strategists for President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign.

270 Strategies, run by Mitch Stewart and Jeremy Bird, will help Booker organize and get out the vote for what’s expected to be a low-turnout Democratic primary in mid-August.

Stewart served as Obama’s battleground states director last year, and Bird was national field director.

The firm joins a Booker consulting team that already includes New Jersey-based Message & Media and Benenson Strategy Group, which was Obama’s lead pollster.

The primary will be held Aug. 13, and the special election to fill the remainder of the late Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg’s term will be held on Oct. 16.

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