Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 30, 2014

April 18, 2013

Delaware: The Return of Christine O’Donnell?

Delaware: The Return of Christine ODonnell?

A spokesman for O'Donnell would not rule out another run. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In 2010, Christine O’Donnell famously defeated then-Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., in the GOP Senate primary — then lost the general election to now-Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat. (See “I’m not a witch… I’m you.”)

Her candidacy serves as a symbol of that cycle, in which three tea-party-backed GOP nominees lost otherwise winnable races to Democrats in Delaware, Nevada and Colorado.

O’Donnell is taking care of her family and will make a decision later about possibly running against Coons again in 2014, Abby Livingston reports in the Farm Team column, Roll Call’s weekly state-by-state look at up-and-coming candidates. Full story

April 17, 2013

Mark Sanford Deserted by Entire GOP Cavalry

Former Gov. Mark Sanford was abandoned this week by the National Republican Congressional Committee, which confirmed via a spokeswoman that it will not spend any money on his behalf in the 1st District special election in South Carolina.

Now deep-pocketed outside grounds say they have no plans to boost Sanford over his opponent, Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, in the May 7 contest. Full story

House Retirement Watch Clues Found in First Fundraising Reports

House Retirement Watch Clues Found in First Fundraising Reports

Coble was hospitalized in February but has returned to work. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Not a single House member has announced they will retire in 2014, but first-quarter fundraising reports indicate some may be headed in that direction.

Most of the Senate retirement announcements have come and gone, as Senate campaign officials tend to push members to step aside early in the cycle. However, House members generally don’t reveal their intentions until about a year before the elections.

For now, a dose of weak fundraising showings from the first three months of the midterm cycle offer clues as to which members could be considering the end of their congressional tenures. Whether they actually plan to retire likely won’t be known for some time, but the lack of motivation in fundraising will continue to feed speculation about some members’ political futures. Full story

Hey, Big (House Race) Spender!

Hey, Big (House Race) Spender!

Bachmann reported spending about $200,000 more in the first quarter than she raised in that time period. (By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Running a congressional campaign can be expensive. But it’s rare for House members to spend almost as much as they raised in the first quarter of a two-year election cycle.

Still, a few incumbents achieved this feat during the first three months of this year, according to a CQ Roll Call review of their fundraising reports.

Here’s a selection of “big spender” House members in the first quarter: Full story

South Carolina: Sanford Makes TV Buy Amid Trespassing Accusations

Updated 12:05 p.m. | Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is set to appear in court this week, facing accusations that he trespassed on his ex-wife’s property in early February, according to The Associated Press.

The news comes as he enters the final weeks as the GOP nominee in a special election against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch. Continued drama in one of the messiest divorces in modern politics will add another layer of complication in his attempt at a political comeback.

But Sanford will have an outlet to make his case — television.

Democratic sources who track media buying tell CQ Roll Call that the Sanford campaign and the South Carolina Republican Party have 1,000 points (a major television buy worth $90,000 to $100,000) reserved in the Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C., media markets. It is set to begin Wednesday and last through April 22. Full story

Obama Budget Puts OFA on the Spot

President Barack Obama’s budget proposal to trim Social Security benefits has intensified liberal angst over his controversial nonprofit advocacy group, Organizing for Action.

OFA’s announcement last week that it had collected just $4.9 million, the vast majority of it from small donors giving $250 or less, may help assuage critics who have cast the group as an unrestricted money magnet. But Obama’s budget proposal to give Social Security recipients smaller cost-of-living increases “puts OFA on a collision course with many of its own grass-roots volunteers,” CQ Weekly reports this week.

“I think this fight over the budget is going to be a real truth-telling moment about Organizing for Action and what it’s going to be,” said Becky Bond, political director of the liberal activist group Credo, which with several progressive groups delivered 2.3 million signatures rejecting the plan to the White House last week. “The people who volunteered to re-elect President Obama overwhelmingly oppose cuts to Social Security.”

The key question for OFA will be whether it becomes a volunteer-driven, bottom-up organization, or a top-down mouthpiece for White House policy. If Obama continues to push for entitlements changes, many Democrats’ disenchantment with OFA will inevitably grow.

Read the whole story here. (Password required.)

April 16, 2013

First-Quarter Fundraising: Winners and Losers

First Quarter Fundraising: Winners and Losers

Franken had a strong fundraising quarter. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:00 p.m. | There were some dynamo fundraising reports filed by Monday’s deadline. And then there were some duds.

The first quarter of an election cycle is traditionally an opportunity for candidates to flex their fundraising muscles, but it also offers a glimpse at which incumbents may be vulnerable or even considering retirement.

Now that the first reports of the 2014 midterm cycle are in, here’s a quick look at some of the House and Senate candidates who performed well in the first three months of fundraising and those who may have to hustle more going forward: Full story

Michigan: Gary Peters Posts Strong Fundraising Ahead of Senate Race Decision

Michigan: Gary Peters Posts Strong Fundraising Ahead of Senate Race Decision

Peters is considering a bid for Senate. (Shira Toeplitz/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., reported the strongest first-quarter fundraising numbers of all of the federal candidates eyeing retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin’s seat.

Peters, who is considering a Senate bid, raised $373,000 and reported having more than $800,000 in cash on hand at the end of March.

First-quarter fundraising reports for members of Congress were due on Monday. Peters raked in more than his potential GOP Senate rivals — Reps. Mike Rogers and Justin Amash — combined. However, Rogers maintains a large cash-on-hand advantage. Full story

Alaska: GOP Recruit Concerned About State Party Turmoil

A top GOP recruit to challenge Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska is worried the turmoil roiling the state Republican Party is putting him and other potential candidates at a distinct disadvantage.

Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who is actively exploring a bid for Senate, said the state party is way behind its Democratic counterparts when it comes to opposition research and rapid response — two of its key responsibilities with no challenger currently in the race.

“The Republican Party at this point is not yet doing what it should be doing — no matter who the Republican candidate is going to be — to be prepared for a campaign battle,” Treadwell said in a phone interview. Full story

Shop Talk: Hughes Joins Hilltop Public Solutions

Hilltop Public Solutions will name Craig Hughes, a top Colorado Democratic consultant, as its newest partner Tuesday.

Hughes, who served as Sen. Michael Bennet’s 2010 campaign manager in Colorado, is part of Hilltop’s expansion into the Western states. The firm recently hired operatives from Montana and Oregon. Full story

April 15, 2013

Remainders: They Work Hard for the Money

Congressional candidates work hard for the money, and it shows in the first-quarter fundraising reports filed on Monday.

This quarter, seven figures marked the high bar for Senate campaign fundraising bragging rights — a large sum for hauls from this early in the cycle.

To be sure, the political fundraising market is different in every state (for example, it’s easier for incumbents to raise money in New Jersey than Alaska). But across the map, senators seeking re-election in 2014 — most of whom of are Democrats — raised big bucks.

Here’s a roundup of Monday’s fundraising announcements and filings: Full story

Massachusetts: Markey, Lynch Suspend Campaigns After Marathon Explosion

Massachusetts: Markey, Lynch Suspend Campaigns After Marathon Explosion

Markey suspended his campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:40 p.m. | Reps. Edward J. Markey and Stephen F. Lynch have suspended all campaign activity following the explosions at the Boston Marathon on Monday.

In a single-sentence statement, the Markey campaign stated it had suspended “campaign activities including canvassing, phone banking, fundraising and television advertisements.”

The Lynch campaign released a statement on the news, then confirmed to CQ Roll Call that it, too, has halted campaign activities.

Full story

Kentucky: Capitol Police Assisting FBI With McConnell Recording Probe

Kentucky: Capitol Police Assisting FBI With McConnell Recording Probe

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Capitol Police will assist the FBI in investigating a secretly recorded campaign strategy session between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his aides.

“The FBI is the lead investigative agency. We are providing them with assistance in the case,” Capitol Police spokesman Shennell Antrobus told CQ Roll Call on Monday afternoon. Full story

California: Baca Will Challenge Miller in 31st District

California: Baca Will Challenge Miller in 31st District

Baca will try to come back to Congress, challenging a Republican instead of a fellow Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

So much for that blood feud congressional race in California’s Inland Empire.

Former Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., has announced he will run in a different district next year, challenging one of his party’s top targets — Republican Rep. Gary G. Miller.  Full story

Ohio: Joyce Raised $234,000 in First Quarter

Rep. David Joyce raised a strong $234,200 during the first quarter of this year, according to fundraising figures provided exclusively to CQ Roll Call.

Joyce, perhaps Ohio’s most vulnerable House Republican, ended last month with $463,000 in the bank.

Full story

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