Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 7, 2016

February 25, 2014

The Candidate Who Bounced a $42 Check Might Be a Problem for Central Valley Democrats

Hernandez is back in California's 21st District race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

California’s Central Valley was home last cycle to a botched open-seat opportunity for Democrats, and the party could be facing a replay in 2014.

After squeaking out of the 2012 top-two primary over the party’s preferred candidate, Democrat John Hernandez was defeated by Republican David Valadao by a 16-point margin for the new 21st District, even as President Barack Obama won there with 55 percent.

This cycle, Democrats are again targeting the seat and have recruited former Capitol Hill aide Amanda Renteria to run.

But back as a potential spoiler is Hernandez, a former president of the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The issues many say contributed to his 2012 loss — a disorganized campaign and difficulty raising money — seem to be plaguing him once again.

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First Republican Goes Up on Air in Georgia House Primary

State Sen. Buddy Carter, one of more than a half-dozen Republicans running for Georgia’s open 1st District, will go up on television Tuesday with an ad touting his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

“As a pharmacist practicing for over 30 years, I’ve seen a lot of changes in health care, and I still maintain we have the greatest health care system in the world,” Carter says in the 30-second spot. “But Obamacare’s a train wreck, and it has to go. In Congress, I’ll continue my pursuit to get rid of it.”

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February 24, 2014

Hilda Solis Endorses in California House Primary

Former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis endorsed attorney Eloise Gomez Reyes on Monday in the crowded primary field in California’s open 31st District.

Gomez Reyes is one of four Democrats running for the seat of retiring GOP Rep. Gary G. Miller — a race that’s splitting the party establishment. Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, another Democrat in the race, has the backing of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“In this day and age when the powerful special interests are gaining even more power, the working families that make our country strong need a strong voice and their own tenacious fighter in Congress. Eloise Gomez Reyes is the person for the job,” Solis, who represented the area from 2001 through 2009, said in a statement. “She has spent her entire career fighting for working families and people who can’t fight for themselves.”

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Will Debbie Dingell Succeed Her Husband in Congress?

Dingell, left, announced his retirement this morning. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For the first time in 81 years, Michigan Democrats are contemplating a Congress without a Dingell.

Maybe not.

Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich., announced his retirement on Monday, finishing his 29th full term in the House after succeeding his father in the southeastern Michigan district. In the wake of his announcement, Democrats are already touting the congressman’s wife, Debbie, as the most serious contender for his seat.

(Update: Indeed, Debbie Dingell is expected to announce her candidacy on Friday.)

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Outside Group Ad Touts McConnell’s Coal Efforts

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican primary challenger in Kentucky hammer each other over the airwaves, a nonprofit group has launched another spot highlighting McConnell’s efforts to oppose the Obama administration.

The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, a 501(c)4, released Monday a 60-second radio touting McConnell’s Saving Coal Jobs Act. The ad is backed by a $75,000 buy.

“Senator Mitch McConnell is fighting to save Kentucky jobs from Barack Obama’s job killing regulations, which have already cost us thousands of jobs and put families and communities at risk,” said Scott Jennings, a senior adviser to the group. Full story

Cruz, Lee Top Club for Growth’s 2013 Conservative Scorecard

Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, were the only two senators to receive perfect scores from the Club for Growth for their 2013 voting records, according to the conservative group’s annual scorecards released Monday.

Four House Republicans, including three from Arizona — Matt Salmon, Trent Franks and David Schweikert — also had 100 percent rankings.

Scorecards like those released by Club for Growth and other groups like Heritage Action have played a significant role since the Republican takeover of the House in 2010 in pressuring lawmakers to hold the conservative line on votes the groups deem key. The club’s political action arm also financially supports primary challenges to low-scoring Republican incumbents, including Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, who was one of the lowest-scoring Republicans last year. Full story

Alex Sink Hit With New Ad From NRCC

The National Republican Congressional Committee released a new TV ad Monday against Alex Sink, the Democrat running in the upcoming special election in Florida’s 13th District.

The ad seeks to highlight differences between Sink, the Sunshine State’s former chief financial officer, and lobbyist David Jolly, the GOP nominee.

“David Jolly: Cut spending, stop Obamacare. Alex Sink: More spending, defend Obamacare,” an announcer says in the 30-secont spot. “She’s fighting for them, not for us.”

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House Dean John Dingell to Announce Retirement (Updated) (Video)

Updated 11:32 a.m. | Rep. John D. Dingell, the longtime Michigan Democrat and dean of the House, will announce on Monday that he will not seek re-election.

“I’m not going to be carried out feet first,” Dingell said in an interview with the Detroit News.

“I find serving in the House to be obnoxious,” Dingell, 87, added in the interview. “It’s become very hard because of the acrimony and bitterness, both in Congress and in the streets.”

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February 22, 2014

Tom Cotton Takes On Obama in Weekly Address

Cotton, left, delivered the GOP's weekly address Saturday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans chose Rep. Tom Cotton, a Senate candidate in one of the hottest races this cycle, to deliver the party’s weekly address and go after President Barack Obama as “causing” the problems people face in Arkansas and across the country.

It’s the latest example of how leaders in both parties are showcasing Senate candidates to let their battles play out under the Dome as well as back home. Already Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor and Cotton have been on opposite sides of legislative battles, including the farm bill. And Democratic leaders gave Pryor a ready-made political wedge issue recently on a topic related to veterans benefits.

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February 21, 2014

Texas Pols File Fundraising Reports Before Primary

Texas will hold the first congressional primaries of 2014 in less than two weeks, but so far the races are so under the radar that one of the candidates to watch failed to file a pre-primary fundraising report due Thursday.

The reports that did come in ahead of the March 4 primaries offered some new insight into the limited number of contests worth keeping an eye on, including four House incumbents and an open-seat race.

Facing a competitive GOP primary challenge, Rep. Ralph M. Hall, who could be running is his last race, stepped up his fundraising game. Meanwhile, freshman Rep. Marc Veasey’s Democratic primary opponent dropped $800,000 of his own money on the race.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, kept up his fundraising dominance, bringing in $928,000 from Jan. 1 to Feb. 12. With Rep. Steve Stockman challenging Cornyn in the primary, the incumbent spent $2.6 million during the first six weeks of the year, much of that on media buys. Stockman’s report, which was not filed electronically, was not immediately available.

In numerical order by district, here’s how Texas House candidates in the races to watch fared during the pre-primary fundraising period:

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Steve Israel Fundraises for Bill Hughes Jr. in New Jersey

New York Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, headlined a fundraiser Friday morning for attorney Bill Hughes Jr., a Democrat looking to oust Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo, R-N.J., according to an invitation obtained by CQ Roll Call.

The fundraiser took place at the Atlantic City Country Club, located in the heart of this district, according to the invitation.

Democrats are targeting LoBiondo — one of more than a dozen Republicans to represent a district President Barack Obama carried in 2012 — despite his past electoral success.

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The Slowest House Race of 2014

In the last few weeks, congressional hopefuls have piled into newly open House seats across the country, climbing over each other for a head start and their best shot in decades to ascend to Capitol Hill.

Except for one: The Pelican State’s 6th District has experienced a remarkably slow start, even for Louisiana, and especially for safe GOP territory filled with ambitious local Republican politicians. Full story

February 20, 2014

Olympic Snowboarder Makes Senate Endorsement

Stassel, left, has endorsed Treadwell for Senate in Alaska. (Joe Scarnici via Getty Images)

In what’s likely the first congressional endorsement by an Olympian in 2014, snowboarder Ryan Stassel has left the winter games in Russia and returned home to Anchorage, where he will formally endorse Alaska Senate candidate Mead Treadwell.

In a statement released Thursday by the Republican’s campaign, the 21-year-old Stassel said he worked as a fisherman to support his dream of making the 2014 Winter Olympics and sees in Treadwell the same dedication it takes to become an Olympian. He also trumpeted the campaign’s argument that Treadwell, currently the state’s lieutenant governor, is the true Alaskan in the Republican primary. Full story

DCCC Outraises NRCC in January

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee outraised its Republican counterpart in January by $700,000, according to figures provided Thursday by both committees.

The DCCC brought in $6.8 million last month, bringing the committee’s cash on hand to $32 million as of Jan. 31.

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New Internal Poll Gives Murphy Wide Lead in Crowded Iowa Race

A new poll from state Rep. Pat Murphy, one of five Democrats running for Iowa’s open 1st District, shows him with a wide lead, according to a memo from his House campaign.

Murphy received 36 percent in the poll of 400 likely Democratic primary voters, conducted by Myers Research and paid for by his campaign. Also per the poll, Murphy has a 19-point lead over Cedar Rapids City Councilwoman Monica Vernon.

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