Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 3, 2014

March 20, 2013

DCCC Announces Community Outreach Chairmen

DCCC Announces Community Outreach Chairmen

Becerra will chair a new DCCC council. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced on Wednesday the members who will lead its community outreach programs. The members will chair councils designed to keep the committee connected with various supportive communities for Democrats, including Native Americans, immigrants, LGBT, labor and defense.

The chairmen of the councils are:

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By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 1:02 p.m.
DCCC

Shop Talk: Hagan Signs Coady, Brees to Re-Election Finance Team

Shop Talk: Hagan Signs Coady, Brees to Re Election Finance Team

Hagan is staffing up for her 2014 re-election campaign (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., continues to staff her re-election campaign by bringing on two new aides: John Coady will serve as her finance director and Erika Brees will serve as her state finance director.

Brees and Coady are veterans of another targeted incumbent’s re-election race: Sen. Claire McCaskill’s campaign in Missouri last year. Coady held the same title with the McCaskill campaign, while Brees was her Missouri deputy finance director.

The junior senator from North Carolina is one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the 2014 cycle, although her GOP opponent is unclear. In the meantime, Hagan continues to bring on operatives for her re-election. She announced last week that she had hired Preston Elliott to be her 2014 campaign manager.

The list of Hagan’s potential opponents includes obstetrician and tea party supporter Greg Brannon, state House Speaker Thom Tillis, Rep. Renee Ellmers, state Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry.

March 19, 2013

South Carolina: Sanford Heads to Runoff, but GOP Opponent Unknown

South Carolina: Sanford Heads to Runoff, but GOP Opponent Unknown

(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Updated 10:52 p.m. | Former Gov. Mark Sanford will advance, as expected, to the Republican primary runoff on April 2.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Sanford took 37 percent, according to The Associated Press. That was enough to send him to a head-to-head matchup with another Republican, but not over the 50 percent threshold needed to win the nomination outright.

Sanford appears poised to face attorney Curtis Bostic, who received the second-highest number of votes.

But a recount loomed: Bostic, a former Charleston County councilman, led state Sen. Larry Groom by only 493 votes, or 0.92 percent of ballots cast.

Under South Carolina election law, if the margin separating two candidates is one point or less, an automatic recount takes place — unless the other candidate waives a recount in writing.

Grooms is not conceding and, as of Tuesday night, does not plan to waive a recount, Grooms strategist Hogan Gidley told CQ Roll Call.

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South Carolina: Elizabeth Colbert Busch Wins Democratic Primary

Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, won the Democratic nomination for South Carolina’s open 1st District on Tuesday, easily beating frequent candidate Ben Frasier in a special-election primary.

At 8:38 p.m., with 56 percent of precincts reporting, The Associated Press reported Colbert Busch had 95 percent to Frasier’s 5 percent.

Colbert has, so far, run a solid campaign, with significant fundraising and slick television ads. In her first spot, she shared her résumé — director of sales and marketing at a shipping company, director of business development at a former naval shipyard in North Charleston — and hammered home the message that she knew how to create jobs.

What went unmentioned was her political affiliation, which will be her biggest hurdle to coming to Congress. The comfortably Republican district voted 62 percent for then-Rep. Tim Scott in November 2012. After his appointment to the Senate, the seat became vacant, setting up this special election.

One Colbert Busch aide told CQ Roll Call that the general election campaign would be, more or less, “a nonpartisan attack on business as usual in Washington.”

Colbert Busch will face the winner of a Republican runoff on April 2.

The general election is May 7. CQ Roll Call rates the race as Likely Republican.

Rand Paul to Headline Lincoln Day Dinner in Iowa

Rand Paul to Headline Lincoln Day Dinner in Iowa

Paul spoke at CPAC last week. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will headline an annual Republican event in Iowa next month, further signaling his interest in a 2016 presidential bid.

The announcement caps several high-profile weeks for Paul. On Saturday, he narrowly won the Conservative Political Action Committee straw poll, just after he delivered a rousing speech to the annual confab. Earlier this month, Paul filibustered for 13 hours John O. Brennan’s nomination to head the CIA.

And on Tuesday morning, Paul also announced support for a comprehensive immigration overhaul.

The Iowa Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner is one of its top fundraisers of the year. It’s a platform for budding White House contenders to warm up potential supporters in the first presidential caucus state, even a full two years before candidates will begin launching their campaigns.

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Arkansas: Republican Poll Shows Pryor Vulnerability

Arkansas: Republican Poll Shows Pryor Vulnerability

Republicans plan to target Pryor's seat. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two conservative groups, Club for Growth Action and the Senate Conservatives Fund, released a new poll on Tuesday that shows Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., a top target in 2014.

In late January, 53 percent of those surveyed had a favorable opinion of Pryor, while 25 percent had an unfavorable opinion of him in the Basswood Research poll of likely voters. By mid-March poll, 36 had a favorable opinion of Pryor, while 36 percent had an unfavorable opinion of him.

Both organizations have recently aired paid advertisements against Pryor — this one from the club, and this one from SCF. The distilled message of the ads from both groups was that Pryor was not independent and votes a great deal of the time with Barack Obama.

Both ads were backed by moderate buy sizes, which Democrats argued casts doubt on the big shift in Pryor’s favorability.

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Shop Talk: Top Democratic Mail Firm Mack|Crounse Breaks Up

The Mack|Crounse Group, a top Democratic direct-mail firm that worked on both of President Barack Obama’s campaigns, has dissolved.

Last week, the firm’s principals, Kevin Mack and Jim Crounse, announced the formation of their own direct-mail firms in separate emails to clients and colleagues.

“We’ve come to the realization that our client bases are very different, and in today’s world of firewalls, independent expenditures, and super PAC’s [sic], this is the best step for our clients, staff and ourselves,” Crounse wrote in his email, adding that it will “take a little time to unwind” the current firm. In fact, the company’s website is still up.

“After careful consideration and some soul-searching, I have decided to set-up [sic] a new direct mail/communications firm,” Mack wrote in another email. “Moving forward, the new firm will continue to offer the same strategic, design and production excellence that we always have.”

“In fact, every member of the ‘Mack Team’ will be joining me, including my top designers and production staff,” he added.

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March 18, 2013

South Carolina: Sanford Is Front-Runner in 1st District Primary

South Carolina: Sanford Is Front Runner in 1st District Primary

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Voters in the coastal 1st District hit the polls Tuesday to cast ballots in the Democratic and Republican special-election primaries.

Insiders expect more than 30,000 people to vote in the Republican primary; 16 candidates will be on the ballot.

The front-runner is former Gov. Mark Sanford. He is expected to be the top vote-getter but will likely fall well short of 50 percent. If that happens, he will land in an April 2 runoff with the Republican who receives the second largest share of votes.

Insiders believe that the most likely candidates to make the runoff with Sanford are attorney Curtis Bostic, state Sen. Larry Grooms, former state Sen. John Kuhn, state Rep. Chip Limehouse and economics teacher Teddy Turner, the son of media mogul Ted Turner. Full story

New Poll Shows Support for Gay Marriage at All-Time High

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll found record high support — 58 percent — for gay marriage.

In a new survey released Monday, only 36 percent of those polled thought marriage for gay and lesbian couples should be illegal and 6 percent had no opinion.

Gay marriage has been one of the country’s fastest-shifting political issues of the decade. Just three years ago, the same poll found 47 percent of respondents favored legal gay marriage and 50 percent were against it.

The new numbers were released on the heels of two top officials — a Democrat and Republican — announcing that their views have evolved on the matter. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said last week that he now supports the right of gay people to get married. On Monday, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced via video that she has evolved to support same-sex marriage. Clinton is a possible 2016 presidential frontrunner.

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Shop Talk: Smoot Joins Majority PAC

Julianna Smoot, the deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election effort, has joined Majority PAC’s board of directors.

“We have a small, effective team to which she brings critical expertise and networks as we prepare for this election cycle and make sure we have every resource needed to keep a Democratic senate majority,” super PAC co-chair Susan McCue said in a press release Monday.

The Democratic super political action committee spent millions to boost Senate candidates in 2012, including major buys in Indiana, Ohio and other states. Full story

DSCC Raises $500,000 From Ryan Budget Affront

DSCC Raises $500,000 From Ryan Budget Affront

Michael Bennet is the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $500,000 in its recent campaign attacking House Republicans — and possible Senate candidates — for supporting Rep. Paul D. Ryan’s budget blueprint, according to fundraising figures provided exclusively to CQ Roll Call.

“Through targeted online ads, grassroots petitioning, and direct appeals, online and grassroots donors have gone above and beyond what they’ve ever done this early in the cycle since Republicans said they would reintroduce a more draconian version of the Ryan plan,” DSCC Digital Director Jason Rosenbaum said in an emailed statement.

The DSCC took a page from House Democrats’ playbook last week when they attacked specific House Republicans for supporting Ryan’s budget. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has leveled these kinds of attack lines for years on television, and it’s not clear they proved effective on Election Day.

However, attacking the Ryan budget continues to be lucrative among the Democratic Party’s base — especially in online fundraising.

The vast majority — 85 percent — of the DSCC’s recent fundraising campaign against the Ryan budget came in online, while the committee raised the rest via phones, according to a DSCC aide. Mostly low-dollar contributions made up the haul taken in March 7-15.

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Three Takeaways From the RNC’s Autopsy Report for 2014

Three Takeaways From the RNCs Autopsy Report for 2014

Priebus announced the details of the RNC's "autopsy" report of the 2012 elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Republican National Committee rolled out a massive post-2012-elections report Monday that focused on crafting what RNC Chairman Reince Priebus called a “fresh beginning” for a party that was on the losing end of a number of electoral contests last cycle.

“We know we have problems,” Priebus said to a packed ballroom at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “We’ve identified them, and we’re implementing the solutions to fix them.”

The report’s recommendations were mostly broad in nature — better messaging, more openness to those with differing views, earlier outreach and engagement to minority groups, a stronger data infrastructure and a more robust get-out-the-vote operation.

Many of the recommendations focused on national campaigns, for example condensing the presidential primary calendar and controlling the debate schedule. But there were specific recommendations that are likely to have a more immediate effect on 2014:

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By Joshua Miller Posted at 1:10 p.m.
Ads, GOTV, Polling, RNC

March 17, 2013

Priebus Announces Minority Outreach Initiative at RNC

Priebus Announces Minority Outreach Initiative at RNC

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced a $10 million outreach initiative Sunday to better convey the party’s message to voters, particularly minorities.

Priebus said the GOP’s “unprecedented” self-evaluation has shown that it has a “quality of context” problem with relating to voters, largely because of “parachuting” into communities months before an election rather than building grass-roots support.

If Republicans have a level of familiarity with a community, he said, it is easier to maintain party support in situations where a candidate’s blunder – like Missouri GOP Rep. Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments — could torpedo the chances for victory come Election Day.

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March 16, 2013

Rand Paul Edges Out Marco Rubio in CPAC Straw Poll

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., won the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll on Saturday, edging out fellow Sen. Marco Rubio. He follows in the footsteps of his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who was a perennial CPAC straw poll winner.

Paul took 25 percent with Rubio garnering 23 percent at the annual event that took place at National Harbor, Md., this year. This comes about a week after Paul’s Senate floor filibuster that created the Twitter hashtag “StandWithRand.” The motto translated at CPAC – some of the biggest souvenir hits were Mad Men logo “Stand With Rand” stickers and t-shirts that featured Paul’s silhouette.

Other top finishers followed in this order:

  • Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. got 8 percent
  • Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J. got 7 percent
  • Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. got 6 percent
  • Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis. got 5 percent

Utah: Love Hires Top Hatch Strategist for Matheson Rematch

Utah: Love Hires Top Hatch Strategist for Matheson Rematch

Love prepares for a rematch with Matheson (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — After a 1-point loss in Utah last year, Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love is actively laying the groundwork for a second challenge to the sole Democrat in the state’s delegation, Rep. Jim Matheson.

In preparation for a bid, Love has hired former state GOP Chairman Dave Hansen, who was widely heralded last year for successfully managing the re-election campaign of Sen. Orrin Hatch.

Love and Hansen sat down with CQ Roll Call for an interview Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where she was scheduled to speak.

“We are looking at it very seriously,” Love said. “We are trying to get people engaged and going, and let them know that we have to start early so that we are not starting from behind.”

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