Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 9, 2016

February 13, 2014

Americans for Prosperity Airs Radio Ad Against Nick Rahall

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Americans for Prosperity, a conservative outside group backed by Charles and David Koch, is up with a radio ad against Rep. Nick J. Rahall II, D-W.Va.

The group is spending about $30,000 to air the spot and like many other ads in recent weeks. It attacks a Democratic candidate on the issue of health care.

In the radio ad, the group goes after Rahall and President Barack Obama for promising Americans could keep their health insurance plans with the new 2010 health care law. The radio ad also includes a clip of Rahall saying that “it may be in their best interest long term to be canceled.” Full story

Tierney Primary Challenger: I’m Being Encouraged to Run (Video)

The candidate: Veteran Seth Moulton, a Democrat.
The member: Nine-term Rep. John F. Tierney, D-Mass.
The district: Massachusetts’ 6th District, located in the northeast corner of the state, is a reliably Democratic district. But past ethics inquiries into Tierney’s personal finances make him a uniquely vulnerable Democrat. Tierney faces Moulton and Democrat Marisa DeFranco in a Democratic primary. The primary victor will likely face former state Sen. Richard Tisei in the general.
The candidate’s team: Mark Mellman (polling), Dover Strategy Group (mail), Scott Ferson (general consultant), Joe Trippi (senior adviser), Max Glass (campaign manager), Carrie James Rankin (communications director).

Iraq War veteran Seth Moulton, a Democrat challenging nine-term Rep. John F. Tierney in a Democratic primary in Massachusetts’ 6th District, says he is being strongly encouraged to run by members of his own party.

“If I had a penny for everyone who’s whispered in my ear to say, ‘We want you to win the primary. We may not be able to publicly support you, but we’d really like you to win this because Congressman Tierney is a liability in this seat,’ my fundraising numbers would be even better than they are,” Moulton said in an interview with CQ Roll Call this month.

Full story

EMILY’s List Endorses 3 House Candidates

EMILY’s List, an organization that backs female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights, announced Thursday a trifecta of endorsements for candidates in open-seat in races in Michigan, New Jersey and New York.

The three endorsed candidates are: Full story

Tim Griffin to Run for Lt. Gov. in Arkansas

Griffin had announced earlier he would not seek re-election. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., who months ago said he would not seek re-election in Arkansas’ 2nd District, announced Thursday he is running for another office.

On his personal Facebook page, Griffin said he will run for lieutenant governor of Arkansas. The position is currently vacant, after Republican Mark Darr resigned amid ethics inquiries.

Griffin announced in October that he would not seek re-election to Congress. In a January op-ed in Roll Call, Griffin cited his young family and the strains of traveling between Washington, D.C., and his home state as the reason.

Full story

Who’s Spending What on TV in the Florida Special

Sink is the Democratic nominee in the competitive special election in Florida. (Tim Boyles/Getty Images File Photo)

Ad wars have escalated in a highly competitive special election in Florida, with Democrats spending more overall, but Republicans quickly catching up with their ad buys.

The already profuse ad spending demonstrates the high stakes for both parties in this March 11 special election. Although the election is one month away, elections officials started to send out mail-in ballots last week for the 13th District contest.

That means television time — especially early advertisements — come at a premium in this Tampa-area media market.

Cumulatively, the Democratic nominee, Alex Sink, and her allies have spent about $1 million more on television advertisements than Republicans.

But the GOP’s nominee, lobbyist David Jolly, and his allies have spent more than Democrats in the past two weeks. Most recently, the National Republican Congressional Committee aired a spot that links Sink to national Democrats and the president’s 2010 health care law.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYz3SW5g9Z8&feature=youtu.be

Here’s a breakdown of approximately how much each party has spent on television advertisements in the general election as of Tuesday afternoon, according to multiple media-buying sources from both parties who are monitoring the race:

Full story

February 12, 2014

Democrats Endorse Documentary Filmmaker for Owens’ Seat

Aaron Woolf (Courtesy 21st District Democratic Committee)

A political quagmire on the Democratic bench in New York’s open 21st District has emboldened Republicans in a district that was already a GOP pick-up opportunity.

On Wednesday, local Democratic officials unanimously endorsed Aaron Woolf, a documentary filmmaker from Elizabethtown, N.Y., in the race to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Bill Owens.

Woolf’s endorsement from the 21st District’s 12 county chairmen came after some high-profile Democrats, including former Rep. Scott Murphy, D-N.Y., declined bids for the seat.

Sheila Comar, chairwoman of the Washington County party, said in a statement that Woolf was the best candidate to continue Owens’ “work to protect our seniors and the Medicare guarantee, middle class families, and reflect the independent spirit that makes the North Country strong. Woolf is a problem solver who will take a commonsense approach and is committed to working together to find solutions that create more jobs and spur New York’s economy.”

Republicans said the thin bench of candidates to choose from indicates Democrats are not hopeful they can hold on to the upstate New York seat. Full story

McConnell, Cornyn Walk Plank on Debt Limit to Ire of Conservatives

Senate Republican leaders Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and John Cornyn of Texas on Wednesday voted to advance legislation that would increase the nation’s borrowing capacity — but not before they spent 40 minutes of the open vote trying to get others to do it for them, likely out of fear of the conservative blowback that came almost immediately.

Earlier this week, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, demanded the 60-vote procedural move, which put McConnell and Cornyn in the uncomfortable position of having to find five Republicans to join Democrats in supporting the debt ceiling measure. By doing so, Cruz gave perfect fodder to tea party groups and candidates, like the Senate Conservatives Fund and McConnell opponent Matt Bevin, against in-cycle Republicans who would need to vote for the bill as opposed to just letting Democrats do it themselves with a simple majority.

Within minutes, the two leaders were getting hit on social media by their opponents.

Gary Miller to Retire From Congress (Updated) (Video)

California Rep. Gary G. Miller announced Wednesday he will not seek re-election.

“It has been a great honor to spend so many years in public service, striving to make a difference for Southern California families,” Miller said in a statement. “While there is still a lot of work to be done, it is now time for me to pass the baton.”

Miller, first elected in 1998, entered this cycle as the most vulnerable Republican up for re-election. He represents a Southern California district President Barack Obama carried with 57 percent of the vote in 2012.

In perhaps the top pickup opportunity for Democrats this cycle, the candidates already seeking the seat include Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, attorney Eloise Gomez Reyes and former Rep. Joe Baca.

Miller’s retirement makes it far more likely that two Democrats will advance beyond the June 3 top-two primary. Emily’s List, which is backing Reyes, released a statement shortly after Miller’s announcement noting that her path “just got clearer.” Full story

Ralph Hall Braces for ‘Final’ Primary Challenge

Hall has vowed this will be his final re-election campaign. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Texas Rep. Ralph M. Hall, the oldest member of Congress, has promised this will be his final campaign.

He’s said it before — several times, in fact — and gone on to run again anyway. But this time, some Texas operatives think the 17-term Republican incumbent could very well be running his last race, though not by choice. Full story

Conservative Group Ups Spending to $2.6M Against Landrieu

Americans for Prosperity, a conservative outside group backed by Charles and David Koch, launched yet another stinging TV ad Wednesday against Sen. Mary L. Landrieu.

It’s the group’s latest ad targeting the Louisiana Democrat on President Barack Obama’s health care law. The group spent $750,000 on its latest three-week flight and has now spent $2.6 million in the state so far this cycle, according to AFP spokesman Levi Russell.

“Dear Miss Davis, we can no longer offer you the same policy,” one announcer says in a series of supposed notices sent by insurance companies. “Your doctor is no longer in the network, due to the Affordable Care Act.”

Full story

Crossroads TV Ad Hits Newly Appointed Montana Senator

American Crossroads, a Republican-aligned super PAC, launched an ad Wednesday targeting Montana’s newly appointed Democratic Sen. John Walsh.

The ad highlights local TV news coverage of a 2010 investigation by the U.S. Army Inspector General that reportedly concluded Walsh abused government resources. Backed by a $125,000 buy, the ad will air for a week in Missoula, Billings and Helena.

“Walsh was formally reprimanded by the U.S. Army. … If they question Walsh’s ability to lead, Montana voters should too,” the announcer says in the 30-second spot.

Full story

Democratic Super PAC Defends Health Care Law on Airwaves

House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC dedicated to elected House Democrats, started airing an ad Wednesday to defend Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., on the recent health care law.

The spot proclaims Garcia is “working to fix Obamacare” and he “took the White House to task for the disastrous health care website.”

www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYJB632ohu8 Full story

Northern Va. Dems Opt for Nominating Convention for Wolf Seat

Northern Virginia Democrats are utilizing a nominating tactic more commonly associated with state Republicans to choose the party’s nominee in a nationally targeted district.

Seeking to bolster its chances at winning the open 10th District seat, the local party decided last weekend to choose a nominee by convention rather than a primary. The rare move limits the number of people who will decide the party’s general election candidate and moves up the nomination process by nearly two months.

Party leaders in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District Democratic Committee hope the earlier date and limited universe of voters will allow their eventual nominee to avoid a costly primary and instead focus on the November general.

“Our committee had a very thoughtful conversation about this, and we just feel very strongly that we need a nominee as soon as possible, and we need to help our eventual nominee conserve resources,” said Charlie Jackson, chairman of Virginia’s 10th District Democratic Party. “Whoever our nominee is can conserve those resources so we spend them in a general election and not against ourselves.”

Full story

February 11, 2014

Lindsey Graham Launches First Campaign Ads

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is facing a few Republican primary challengers, released his first TV and radio ads of the year on Tuesday.

The ads work to burnish Graham’s conservative credentials with four months left until the June 10 primary. The ads are backed by a six-figure buy and will run statewide for more than a week, according to a release.

The TV ad notes Graham “opposed Obamacare from Day One,” “led the fight on Benghazi,” and is “a conservative leader who gets things done.” Full story

Internal Alexander Memo Reveals Wide GOP Primary Lead

An internal poll conducted for Sen. Lamar Alexander’s campaign shows the Tennessee Republican with a 45-point lead over his highest-tracking primary opponent, according to a memo obtained by CQ Roll Call.

The poll, conducted by North Star Opinion Research, surveyed 600 likely GOP primary voters and found that Alexander enjoys a 67-percent-to-26-percent favorable-to-unfavorable rating.

Meanwhile, tea-party-backed state Rep. Joe Carr is struggling to gain name recognition in the state. Seventy percent of likely Republican voters said they have never heard of Carr, up only 3 points from an August poll. Full story

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