Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 21, 2014

May 31, 2013

Democrat Drops Bid for Bachmann Seat #MN06

Democrat Drops Bid for Bachmann Seat #MN06

Both Graves and Bachmann dropped their campaigns this week. (CQ Roll Call File Photos)

Hotel magnate Jim Graves, a Democrat, dropped his bid for Minnesota’s 6th District on Friday — just a few days after his opponent, embattled Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., announced her retirement from Congress.

Graves portrayed his nascent effort as a success in an email to supporters, pointing to Bachmann’s departure from Congress.

“A year ago, we set out on a mission: To restore civility, functionality and honesty to Washington by removing Michele Bachmann from office,” Graves wrote to supporters. “Her hateful rhetoric and dangerous policies fueled an extremist movement unlike anything we’d seen in a long time.” Full story

Hagan Gets First Major GOP Challenger #NCSEN

North Carolina state Speaker Thom Tillis announced Friday he will challenge Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan.

The Republican has long been expected to take on the first-term senator, who is among the most vulnerable incumbents facing re-election next year. He’s the first major challenger to Hagan, though other Republicans are eyeing the race.

“Friends, I have decided to run for the US Senate against Kay Hagan in 2014,” Tillis wrote in a morning tweet. “I hope to earn your support.”

In an interview with the Associated Press, Tillis said defeating Hagan would help Republicans win the Senate majority and “turn the country in the right direction.” He plans to officially enter the race next week. Full story

First Senate Democrat Airs 2014 Ad (Video) #ARSEN

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., doesn’t have an opponent yet, but he’s being forced to play defense anyway.

Hit from both sides on the air this week, Pryor launched the first television ad of his re-election campaign on Friday. The ad, coming about 17 months before the general election, is backed by a “significant statewide buy,” according to a Democratic spokesman.

Full story

May 30, 2013

Bachmann 2.0? The GOP’s Minnesota Problem

Bachmann 2.0? The GOP’s Minnesota Problem

Bachmann will not run for re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans exhaled this week when vulnerable Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., announced her retirement from the otherwise reliable GOP district.

Their relief might not last long. In Minnesota, some Republican strategists fret that the state party’s quirky endorsement process could yield a “Bachmann 2.0” candidate — and put the seat in play again.

“The wrong candidate could lose this for Republicans,” said former Rep. Mark Kennedy, the Republican who preceded Bachmann in the 6th District. “And that would be a key concern for whether the endorsing process delivers the right candidate.” Full story

Al Franken Vs. the Unknown #MNSEN

Al Franken Vs. the Unknown #MNSEN

Franken is running for re-election and so far the GOP bench to challenge him is thin. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The first Minnesota Republican to challenge Democratic Sen. Al Franken piqued both curiosity and optimism within the state’s GOP circles. Finance executive Mike McFadden, who heads a Minneapolis management firm, is a largely unknown quantity in state politics, aside from a few donations.

Some Republicans think that may be one of McFadden’s best assets in this Democratic-leaning state, which hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1972. They’re also realistic about his chances against someone who is now a formidable incumbent.

“He’s a very personable guy. That’s obviously a good asset,” said one Republican strategist who’s worked on statewide campaigns. “But when you’re going from basically high school ball to the major leagues — that’s a big jump.”

Those who have actually met McFadden were impressed and they are genuinely optimistic about this being a competitive race, especially with a midterm electorate that tends to be more favorable for Republicans than in presidential years.

Full story

Aloha, Campaign Manager #HISEN | Shop Talk

Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz has hired Clay Schroers to manage his campaign for next year’s highly competitive Democratic primary.

Schroers was born and raised in Hawaii. He has managed several congressional races, including New York Rep. Dan Maffei’s successful comeback bid last year. He also served as an aide to Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

Full story

Gay Republican to Challenge Scott Peters #CA52

Gay Republican to Challenge Scott Peters #CA52

Peters is vulnerable in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Carl DeMaio, a former city councilmember from San Diego will announce Thursday that he plans to challenge vulnerable freshman Rep. Scott Peters, a Democrat.

Republicans recruited DeMaio, who is openly gay, to run in the 52nd District. In a release from his campaign, DeMaio refers to himself as a “new generation Republican” — just a few weeks after GOP polling showed him leading Peters by 10 points in a hypothetical matchup.

Peters, who also served as a San Diego councilmember, unseated longtime Republican Rep. Brian P. Bilbray in 2012 in one of the closest races of the cycle. The district has a slight Democratic lean, and voted for President Barack Obama in 2012 with 52 percent.

Full story

May 29, 2013

Baca Releases Endorsement Signature Sheet (Updated) #CA31

Baca Releases Endorsement Signature Sheet (Updated) #CA31

Baca is running for Congress again. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 8:05 a.m. | Under fire for touting questionable member endorsements, former Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., released on Wednesday the signatures of several House Democrats indicating their support for his campaign.

Baca sent CQ Roll Call a PDF of the signature sign-up sheet — including the autographs of two Democrats who have since disputed they ever agreed to support him in California’s heated 31st District primary.

Last week, Baca announced that 30 House Democrats had endorsed him, including House Assistant Minority Leader James E. Clyburn and Rep. Terri A. Sewell of Alabama. But on Tuesday, Clyburn said through a spokesman that he did not endorse Baca in the highly contested primary and insisted he was staying neutral in the race.

Sewell followed suit, also saying through a spokeswoman that she, too, did not endorse Baca.

Late Wednesday evening, Clyburn’s Communications Director Patrick Devlin sought to clear up  any confusion over the endorsement debacle in an email.

Full story

Margolies Readies Congressional Comeback #PA13

Former Rep. Marjorie Margolies will file papers to run in the open-seat Pennsylvania 13th District race to replace Democratic Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Margolies is the mother-in-law of Chelsea Clinton. But she’s also known for casting a tie-breaking vote to pass President Bill Clinton’s economic plan in 1993. That vote doomed her 1994 re-election campaign in suburban Philadelphia.

The former one-term congresswoman joins an already-crowded field for the primary. State Sen. Daylin Leach is running, as is state Rep. Brendan Boyle and Valerie A. Arkoosh. The current member, Schwartz, is running for governor. Full story

Fortenberry not Running for Senate #NESEN

Fortenberry not Running for Senate #NESEN

Fortenberry, right, will not run for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., announced Wednesday he will seek re-election instead of running for the state’s open Senate seat.

“I greatly appreciate the support and encouragement of the many Nebraskans who have urged me to consider a campaign for the United States Senate. After considerable reflection, I have decided not to run for the Senate,” Fortenberry said in a statement.

Fortenberry is the second Republican in the past week to take his name out of the running for a seat that the GOP is heavily favored to hold in 2014. Gov. Dave Heineman, who is term-limited next year and was the top GOP recruit for this race, opted out of running on May 25. Full story

Obama to Fundraise for House Democrats in Chicago

Obama to Fundraise for House Democrats in Chicago

Obama will fundraise for House Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama will travel to his hometown of Chicago on Wednesday to fundraise for House Democratic campaign efforts in 2014.

He will headline two events for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the evening, according to information provided by a Democratic aide.

The first fundraiser will be at the Chicago Hilton, and the guest list includes House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, DCCC Chairman Steve Israel of New York, House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, Illinois Sen. Richard J. Durbin and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former chairman of the DCCC. Tickets will range from $1,000 per person to $5,000 per couple. Full story

Republicans Lose Top Senate Prospect in Colorado #COSEN

Republicans Lose Top Senate Prospect in Colorado #COSEN

Gardner will not run for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Rep. Cory Gardner decided against challenging Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., on Wednesday, according to The Denver Post.

Many Colorado Republicans viewed Gardner as their strongest potential candidate. But in recent months, he showed little evidence that he was gearing up for a Senate bid.

“I’ve got work to do, I’m not in a hurry to run for another office,” he told the paper. “I think the most important thing for people is to know now.” Full story

Mark Pryor Going on the Air #ARSEN

Mark Pryor Going on the Air #ARSEN

Pryor is running advertisements for his re-election bid. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., will launch a television ad campaign on Friday — 17 months before this cycle’s most vulnerable incumbent faces voters in the general election.

“It’s an ad in response to the attacks we’re getting on both sides,” Pryor campaign manager Jeff Weaver said. “These outside groups are trying to affect the election. So we’ve produced an ad.”

Pryor has been hit on the air by the conservative groups Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund for his ties to President Barack Obama. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s super PAC, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, just launched a $350,000 ad buy hitting Pryor for his vote against expanded background checks.

(See also in Roll Call: Pryor Can’t Escape 2010 Comparison) Full story

Why Some Democrats Aren’t Happy About Bachmann’s Exit

Why Some Democrats Arent Happy About Bachmanns Exit

Not every Democrat is happy about Bachmann's decision not to seek re-election. (Douglas Graham/Roll Call File Photo)

Not every Democrat is cheering Rep. Michele Bachmann’s upcoming exit from Congress — specifically the party’s bean counters.

The conservative firebrand’s decision not to run for re-election takes a lucrative fundraising tool off the table for Democrats.

“After Joe Walsh and Allen West were defeated, she was by far the most lucrative voice for Democrats in the GOP caucus,” said one top Democratic operative who has worked at a committee. “Direct mail writers are going to have to cultivate new villains.”

The Minnesota Republican’s controversial statements and her mantle as one of the tea party’s loudest advocates on Capitol Hill made her the perfect foil in fundraising solicitations from Democratic campaign committees and candidates. She was among a select crew of rank-and-file GOP House members with national profiles and names capable of prompting Democratic donors to give. Full story

Which Republicans Will Run for Michele Bachmann’s Seat? #MN06 | The Field

Which Republicans Will Run for Michele Bachmanns Seat? #MN06 | The Field

Bachmann will retire. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hours after Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., announced her retirement from Congress, a host of potential GOP candidates emerged as possible successors for the 6th District.

Interviews with Minnesota and national Republicans yielded the following potential GOP candidates: Full story

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