Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 25, 2014

April 25, 2013

Ron Paul Backs Paul Broun #GAsen

Ron Paul Backs Paul Broun #GAsen

Paul, above, is backing Broun in the Georgia Senate race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, endorsed Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., in what is shaping up to be Republicans’ widest and most unpredictable Senate primary.

“If we’re going to restore our Constitution and put our nation back on the path to prosperity, we must elect principled conservatives who will fight in Washington,” Paul, a former presidential candidate with deep tea party support, said in an email Thursday. “Paul Broun will continue fighting, and that’s why I endorsed his candidacy for U.S. Senate in Georgia.” Full story

Bill Nelson Mulls Bid for Florida Governor

Bill Nelson Mulls Bid for Florida Governor

Nelson is considering running for governor in Florida. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is considering a bid against GOP Gov. Rick Scott in 2014.

“I’d say that’s true, that he’s considering it,” said Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin. “An awful lot of people have contacted him and asked him to do so. But — and as he’s said a number of times — he presently doesn’t have any intention of running. He’s got a job to do as a senator.”

Privately, top Florida Democrats described Nelson’s consideration as “fairly serious,”as Abby Livingston reported in Roll Call’s weekly Farm Team column.

“It’s on the way to being fairly serious. I think he is going to take a very close look at it,” a senior Florida Democratic official told CQ Roll Call. “It’s not very far along. I wouldn’t tell you it’s likely … [but] I think he will really look at it.”

Full story

House Dems Tout Recruits to Caucus

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel penned a Thursday memo to the caucus boasting about their edge in recruitment and fundraising for 2014.

According to a copy of the memo obtained by CQ Roll Call, the New York Democrat outlines section-by-section how, in his view, House Democrats are on track to make gains in 2014.

“We are ahead-of-schedule on recruitment, ahead-of-expectations on fundraising, and ahead-of-the-curve on defining the Republican Congress,” Israel wrote of his second cycle leading the DCCC. Full story

Former Todd Akin Consultant Has Controversial Past | Shop Talk

Earlier this week, Abby Livingston broke the news about a major shake-up at a prominent GOP consulting firm, The Strategy Group for Media. One of the firm’s most prolific ad-makers, SGM President Nick Everhart, said he was terminated via email late on a Saturday night earlier this month.

The CEO of the firm, Rex Elsass, boasts a long client list that included seven freshmen and more than 20 incumbents from the 2012 cycle, according to SGM’s website. But he also played a big role in former Rep. Todd Akin’s bid for Senate in Missouri — a race widely viewed as one of the worst-run campaigns of the cycle. Former Todd Akin Consultant Has Controversial Past | Shop Talk

But Elsass proved himself a controversial figure in the industry long before that. Roll Call detailed Elsass’ aggressive tactics in a 2012 profile of the GOP media consultant:

In the tiny world of political consulting, reputations and history have long life spans, especially when a firm does so much business.

“When you get into the race, he’s the first guy that contacts you,” one former client said. Full story

April 24, 2013

McSally Inches Toward Rematch Against Barber #AZ02

McSally Inches Toward Rematch Against Barber #AZ02

McSally came close to beating Barber in 2012. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats got their hopes raised recently that retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally might be recruited to run for Arizona governor or to run to replace Republican Sen. John McCain in 2016 — instead of running for Congress in 2014. But it appears to be much ado about nothing.

Democrats were hoping that remarks McSally made in an amateur online video about Republicans recruiting her for other offices meant she was no longer serious about challenging Democratic Rep. Ron Barber in Arizona’s 2nd District. McSally nearly defeated Barber in the 2012 general election.

McSally seemed baffled in a phone interview about the Democratic reaction.

“I’m very strongly considering running for Congress,” she said, an almost verbatim comment she made in the video. Full story

Democrat Drops House Bid After Three Weeks #MN02

Democrat Drops House Bid After Three Weeks #MN02

One of Kline's opponents dropped out on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After just three weeks on the campaign trail, CaringBridge founder Sona Mehring told supporters Wednesday she will not challenge Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., after all.

“My campaign received tremendous support and words of encouragement,” Mehring wrote. “The level of enthusiasm and people’s confidence in me was humbling. However, I realize my true passion still was with CaringBridge.” Full story

Rand Paul, RNC Chairman Headline N.H. GOP Unity Dinner

Rand Paul, RNC Chairman Headline N.H. GOP Unity Dinner

Paul will go to New Hampshire next month for a GOP event meant to showcase party unity. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Any time a senator heads to New Hampshire for a state party event, he or she sparks presidential buzz.

But Sen. Rand Paul’s scheduled visit to the Granite State next month reveals just as much about New Hampshire Republican politics as his own national ambitions.

The state GOP’s recent electoral history demonstrates a deep divide between the tea party and more established Republicans. But in May, Paul will co-headline a dinner with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, a partnership that’s intended show unity in the party, according to New Hampshire Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Horn. Full story

Beekeeper Challenges Jeff Denham #CA10

Beekeeper Challenges Jeff Denham #CA10

Denham has a new Democratic challenger, a beekeeper and farmer from Kingsburg, Calif. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A beekeeper and farmer from Kingsburg, Calif., announced Tuesday that he will challenge GOP Rep. Jeff Denham in a Central Valley district with swing potential.

This will be Democrat Michael Eggman’s first race, but as the Sacramento Bee pointed out, he is the brother of state Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman. Full story

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 1:09 p.m.
Calif.-10

April 23, 2013

Remainders: Big-Sky Dreams

What you might have missed “At the Races” on Tuesday …

Full story

Manchin Campaign Manager Joins Mack-Sumner | Shop Talk

Fiona Conroy, a former campaign manager for Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., has joined the new Democratic consulting firm Mack-Sumner.

“We are thrilled to have Fiona on our team,” partner Kevin Mack said in a Tuesday release. “She brings unmatched energy, unique experience and boundless creativity to Mack-Sumner.” Full story

Are Senate Democrats Schweitzer or Bust? #MTsen

Are Senate Democrats Schweitzer or Bust? #MTsen

Baucus' decision not to seek re-election means Democrats must recruit a new candidate for the race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Max Baucus’ surprising retirement announcement puts the onus on Democrats to recruit the state’s popular former governor, who could be the only candidate capable of holding the seat.

Thanks to a head’s up from the Senate Finance Committee chairman, party operatives have already begun with former Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

The bolo tie-wearing national party figure could tap into a fundraising network far beyond any other Democrat in the state — except, of course, for Baucus. There is little doubt that the two-term former governor would give Democrats a good chance at holding the seat.

The question is whether the unpredictable and ambitious Schweitzer will actually run. Full story

Max Baucus to Retire in 2014 #MTsen

Max Baucus to Retire in 2014 #MTsen

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 12:42 a.m. | Montana Sen. Max Baucus has decided to retire instead of seek re-election next year, a sudden move that caught many colleagues and state Democrats off guard.

Democratic sources confirmed the news to CQ Roll Call on Tuesday morning — after which Baucus told reporters he was working to spread word to his staff.

“I’ve got people I’ve got to talk to first before I talk to the press, and that includes my staff,” he said. “I’m going to talk to my staff right now. And phone calls I’ve got to make. We’ll be talking later today.”

The Senate Finance chairman was considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats up in 2014 and Republicans had made clear they would heavily target the race. Baucus has served in the Senate since 1979 and has not faced difficult races in recent years.

Now that Baucus is exiting after this congress, Roll Call contributing editor Stuart Rothenberg rates this race as a Tossup in the Rothenberg Report.

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer will be at the top of Democrats’ wish list as the candidate in the open-seat race. A Democratic source indicated the ex-governor is leaning toward running.

The retirement also opens up the Finance gavel come 2104. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., is next in line for that post, and Democratic sources indicated he would be likely to take it. Full story

Hanabusa Will Primary Schatz for Senate #HIsen

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, has decided to run for Senate and will likely make a public announcement in the Aloha State next week during recess, a source close to the congresswoman told CQ Roll Call.

The decision comes four months after Hanabusa was passed over for the appointment to the seat of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye and sets up what will be a spirited Democratic primary battle with appointed Sen. Brian Schatz.

Hanabusa met with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee last week, and on Monday the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that the DSCC would back Schatz should Hanabusa challenge him in the November 2014 special election to fill the remaining two years of Inouye’s term.

(See also in Roll Call: Schatz Fundraising Sends Message to Primary Foes) Full story

April 22, 2013

Monday Remainders: Mark Sanford and Sons

Monday Remainders: Mark Sanford and Sons

Sanford had a rough week on the campaign trail. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images File Photo)

What we’re mulling on Monday …

  • #MIsen: Michigan’s Democratic primary waters are clear now — so when will Rep. Gary Peters jump into the Senate race? Debbie Dingell announced in a Saturday Facebook post that she will not seek the Democratic nomination to replace retiring Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. No word yet from Peters on an announcement.
  • #SC01: Not everyone has abandoned former Gov. Mark Sanford’s special election bid. National Right to Life PAC spent almost $6,000 on mailers for Sanford, according to online records with the Federal Election Commission.
  • #HIsen: Your move, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will back Sen. Brian Schatz in the Democratic primary, via the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

What you might have missed “At the Races” on Monday…. Full story

Mark Sanford Does Not Remember the Alamo #SC01

Usually, it’s Texans who are notorious for invoking the Alamo amid tough circumstances.

But this weekend, former Gov. Mark Sanford referenced the epic battle in a full-page newspaper advertisement in the Sunday edition of Charleston’s The Post and Courier.

Sanford, the GOP’s nominee in South Carolina’s 1st District special election, is going through some trying times.

Last week, The Associated Press reported that his former wife had accused him of trespassing on her property. In the next two days, national Republicans abandoned his campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee bought air time for a hard-hitting television advertisement against him.

He’s now the underdog in the heavily GOP district against the Democratic nominee, Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

So Sanford is invoking the Alamo in his struggle to return to Congress:

“In March of 1863, there was similarly little time. A South Carolinian by the name of William Travis drew a line in the sand with his sword and simply asked those who would stay and fight, to cross it. His efforts, and that of those who died with him there at the Alamo, ultimately inspired Texans to come to the aid of their brethren and defeat Santa Anna’s army though they were outnumbered at the onset by six to one. I’m outnumbered right now, but will fight to the end toward freedom and financial sanity in Washington so important to sustaining it. I’d ask you to cross the like and fight with me.”

There’s a problem with this anecdote: the Alamo fell on March 6, 1836.

Full story

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