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

March 7, 2013

California: Ex-Rep. Ose May Challenge Freshman Bera

California: Ex Rep. Ose May Challenge Freshman Bera

Bera, above, could face a 2014 challenge from Ose, a former member of Congress. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Republican Rep. Doug Ose told the Sacramento Bee that he is considering a challenge to freshman Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif.

“It’s very easy to say ‘I’m going to run for Congress,’ but having done it four times now, it’s not a simple task,” Ose told the newspaper. “There’s a lot that goes into it.”

The Sacramento-area 7th District became one of the most competitive in California after an independent redistricting commission redrew the lines in 2011. Bera toppled former GOP Rep. Dan Lungren last year by a little more than 3 points, and is now included in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s incumbent retention program. Full story

RNC ’12 Autopsy Due March 18, Will Address Debates

RNC 12 Autopsy Due March 18, Will Address Debates

Priebus said a postmortem on the 2012 election cycle will be released later this month. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus revealed in a radio interview that the RNC’s internal review of the 2012 elections will be released on March 18.

In a discussion with radio show host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday, Priebus also signaled that the Growth and Opportunity Project would recommend changes to the presidential debate process ahead of the quadrennial GOP primary. Specifically, he said the report will address whether the party will take control of the debates, including which network televises them and which journalists serve as moderators.

“So now we have the right to set the number of the debates, to pick the moderators of the debates, to set the ground rules for what groups and what networks and what stations, what radio networks, whatever it might be,” Priebus said, according to a transcript of the interview posted on Hewitt’s website. “I mean, we just can’t have MSNBC hosting a debate at the Reagan Library only to have their network make the commentary afterwards for three hours about the debate of the Republican Party. I mean, it’s ridiculous.”

Priebus will address reporters at breakfast the National Press Club on the March 18 release date. But he also suggested that such changes would have to be enacted through a vote of committee members at party meeting scheduled for later this year or early 2014.

Full story

Obama Group to Reject Corporate Cash

Under fire from watchdog groups and editorial writers, the pro-Obama advocacy group Organizing for Action has announced that it will no longer accept corporate money and will more fully disclose contributions.

“We have now decided not to accept contributions from corporations, federal lobbyists or foreign donors,” OFA’s national chairman, Jim Messina, wrote in a CNN.com op-ed posted Thursday. While as a tax-exempt social welfare group OFA “faces a lower disclosure threshold than a campaign,” wrote Messina, “we believe in being open and transparent. That’s why every donor who gives $250 or more to this organization will be disclosed on the website with the exact amount they give on a quarterly basis.”

Criticism of the group has been mounting since President Barack Obama’s campaign organizers announced its formation in January. Messina was Obama’s campaign manager, and top bundlers who round up $500,000 or more for the group will reportedly receive invitations to quarterly meetings with the president.

Common Cause President Bob Edgar has called on Obama to shut the group down, and Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer has also said the group should close up shop. Republicans on Capitol Hill have also voiced complaints, and the pro-GOP super PAC American Crossroads last week released a video lampooning OFA as “Organizing for Access.”

In the CNN.com op-ed and in a post on the OFA website, Messina stresses that the group’s mission is to counter the power of special interests, not leverage them.

Full story

Shop Talk: Spies Joins House Republican Super PAC

Attorney Charlie Spies will serve as a senior adviser this cycle to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC dedicated to protecting and growing the House GOP’s majority.

“Charlie Spies’ reputation speaks for itself,” said CLF Chairman Norm Coleman, a former Republican senator from Minnesota, in a statement Thursday. “2012′s most effective GOP super PAC is excited to grow further as we fight big government, big labor bosses, and the job killing agenda of President Obama and his political operation for control of the U.S. House.” Full story

South Carolina: Colbert Busch Launches First TV Ad (VIDEO)

Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, launched her first television advertisement Thursday as she seeks the Democratic nomination in South Carolina’s 1st District special election.

In the slickly-made spot, she shares her résumé — director of sales and marketing at a shipping company, director of business development at a former naval shipyard in North Charleston — and emphasizes her experience creating jobs.

“I’ve spent 20 years using our ports to create jobs: selling American products made by American workers,” she says. “I know what it takes to create new jobs.”

Full story

Massachusetts: New Poll Finds Markey Senate Special Election Frontrunner

Massachusetts: New Poll Finds Markey Senate Special Election Frontrunner

Markey leads a new poll of the Senate special election in Massachusetts (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey remains the strong favorite to win the special election for Senate in Massachusetts, according to a new poll of registered voters released late Wednesday.

Markey led Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, his Democratic primary opponent, 50 percent to 21 percent, among polled potential Democratic voters, according to a UMass Lowell-Boston Herald survey. Twenty-three percent said they were were unsure about the primary.

Markey, a House veteran first elected in 1976, also led his all three potential GOP challengers by a comfortable margin in horserace matchups. His closest GOP competitor was former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, who took 30 percent to Markey’s 48 percent. Sullivan is seen as the frontrunner in his race for the Republican nomination with state Rep. Dan Winslow and Gabriel Gomez, a private equity investor and former Navy SEAL.

Lynch also led all Republicans in horserace matchups.

Full story

March 6, 2013

NRSC Raises Money Off Rand Paul Filibuster

NRSC Raises Money Off Rand Paul Filibuster

The NRSC raised money off of Paul's filibuster (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee Wednesday launched a fundraising effort tied to Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s ongoing talking filibuster.

The organization charged with winning GOP control of the Senate in 2014 set up a special fundraising webpage, headlined “STAND WITH RAND!”

Paul has been attempting to filibuster the nomination of John O. Brennan to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The senator has held the floor for nearly 12 hours. A number of fellow senators, including those in the leadership of the NRSC, have come to show their support of Paul by asking him questions. That has given Paul a break from constantly speaking.

“NRSC Chairman Jerry Moran and Vice Chairman Ted Cruz went to the Senate floor today to join his filibuster,” the NRSC wrote on a fundraising page. “Please join them in standing with Rand!”

Full story

By Joshua Miller Posted at 10:35 p.m.
Fundraising, NRSC

California: Republicans Eyeing DeMaio to Challenge Freshman Peters

California: Republicans Eyeing DeMaio to Challenge Freshman Peters

Peters is a top 2014 target for Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican strategists believe former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio is considering a challenge to freshman Democratic Rep. Scott Peters, a top GOP target in 2014.

DeMaio boasts strong name ID in the 52nd District after losing to former Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., by a slim margin, in the San Diego mayoral election last year. But DeMaio performed well in the area where the district and city overlapped, according to one GOP strategist.

Reached for comment, DeMaio spokeswoman Jennifer Jacobs downplayed the rumors, saying “there is significant discussion and speculation about Carl’s future elective opportunities. However, at this time, Carl is focusing on opportunities to promote reform throughout California and for that matter, the country.” Full story

March 5, 2013

Trump to Address CPAC Next Week

Trump to Address CPAC Next Week

Trump will speak at CPAC again this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Donald Trump will speak next week at the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering for conservative activists in Washington, D.C.

On Tuesday, the American Conservative Union announced that Trump will return to the conference after the businessman made a surprise appearance two years ago, when he was floating the possibility of running for president.

“Donald Trump is an American patriot and success story with a massive following among small government conservatives,” ACU Chairman Al Cardenas said in a statement.

The news comes as CPAC has been criticized by some Republicans for snubbing potential future presidential candidates, specifically New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who were both elected in 2009. The Washington Post reported Tuesday that McDonnell, who recently signed a bipartisan transportation bill that raises taxes, was not invited.

Full story

Illinois: Kelly Plans to Follow Obama’s Lead on Gun Control

Illinois: Kelly Plans to Follow Obamas Lead on Gun Control

Kelly won the Democratic nomination in Illinois' 2nd District. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Democrat Robin Kelly made gun control a central issue in her successful House primary last month, and now she says she will follow the president’s lead on that very issue in Congress.

“I see myself as standing with the president in helping him pass what he wants to pass,” Kelly said about gun control in an interview during her first trip to Washington, D.C., since her victory.

Kelly added that background checks and closing gun show loopholes are realistic policy points that could positively effect the 2nd District. She won the Feb. 26 primary in the south side Chicago district, an area that has been plagued by massive gun violence in recent years.

The 2nd District is a safe Democratic seat, and Kelly is all but certain to come to Congress after the April 9 special election to succeed former Democratic Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. Her Republican rival, Paul McKinley, is a convicted felon, according to The Chicago Tribune.

But Kelly’s primary garnered national attention when New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s super PAC spent $2.5 million to boost her campaign. Her race served as the first test case for the super PAC, which supports candidates who back gun control, after the school shootings in Newtown, Conn.

Kelly noted that she has never spoken with Bloomberg, even after her victory.

“Never talked to him before, never talked to him after [the primary],” she said. “We don’t know each other. He got involved on behalf of the families [affected by gun violence]. That’s how I look at it.”

Full story

DCCC Announces 26 Members on Frontline Incumbent Retention Program

DCCC Announces 26 Members on Frontline Incumbent Retention Program

Israel leads the DCCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel named 26 of his colleagues to the Frontline program, a committee program designed to protect their most vulnerable incumbents.

“We call this program Frontline for a reason – these Members are on the vanguard of protecting and expanding the middle class,” Israel said in a written statement released Tuesday morning.

“While the 2014 campaign will be dominated by a strong offense taking on the Tea Party Republican Congress, our success begins with our Members,” added Israel, a Democrat from New York. “These battle-tested men and women have proven time and again that they can win because no one better reflects the values of their districts.”

Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn. will spearhead the program as its chairman. He’s a Frontline alumnus as recently as the 2012 cycle.

Otherwise, the list includes several freshman members and Blue Dog Democrats:

Full story

March 4, 2013

Florida: St. Lucie County Commissioner Mowery Considering Bid Against Murphy

Florida: St. Lucie County Commissioner Mowery Considering Bid Against Murphy

Republicans will target Murphy's seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

St. Lucie County Commissioner Tod Mowery, a Republican, is considering a run against freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla.

“I have been aggressively working through an evaluation of the district 18 race and I have a growing interest in that position,” Mowery told CQ Roll Call in a Monday evening telephone interview. “I think that it is something I definitely have on my radar at this point — evaluating.”

After one of the most brutal, personal and vituperative House races in 2012, Murphy, 29, unseated then-Rep. Allen B. West, a Republican, by a tiny margin. Murphy took 50.3 percent to West’s 49.7 percent.

The small margin of victory and the swing nature of the district has made it a top House Republican target in 2014. Full story

Montana: State Democrats’ Dinner Features Franken, Messina

Montana: State Democrats’ Dinner Features Franken, Messina

Franken will speak at a Montana Democratic Party dinner Saturday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken and former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina will headline the Montana Democratic Party’s Mansfield-Metcalf dinner Saturday.

Messina is a former campaign manager and chief of staff to Montana Sen. Max Baucus, who is running for re-election in 2014 and has already drawn two GOP challengers. Franken, a former “Saturday Night Live” writer and actor, is also running next year, though no major Republican opponent has yet to step forward.

Baucus, Sen. Jon Tester and Gov. Steve Bullock will also address attendees at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds. Other speakers include Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and Nancy Keenan, the former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America and a former congressional candidate in Montana.

Massachusetts: Republican Sullivan Files FEC Paperwork for Senate Run

Former U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan, a Republican, filed federal paperwork Monday to run in the Senate special election in Massachusetts, becoming the third GOP candidate to officially enter the race.

“Yes, Washington is broken. Yes, it’s dysfunctional. That much is clear,” Sullivan said in a statement. “What we need now is someone who will stand up and say what’s broken and address how we can start to change it. The voters are looking for substance and real alternatives for reform.”

The Massachusetts Senate race represents a long shot for Republicans, and CQ Roll Call rates it as Likely Democratic.

Sullivan joins a GOP field that already includes state Rep. Dan Winslow and Gabriel Gomez, a private equity investor and former Navy SEAL. All three campaigns said they have collected enough certified signatures to appear on April 30 primary ballot.

The winner of the Republican primary will face off against Rep. Edward J. Markey — who is backed by many national Democrats in Washington, D.C., and influential Democrats in the Bay State — or Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, who has significant organized labor support. Markey is the frontrunner.

The general election will be held June 25.

Nebraska: Bruning Won’t Seek Open Senate Seat

Nebraska: Bruning Wont Seek Open Senate Seat

Bruning won't run for the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, one of several Republicans considered potential candidates for the state’s open Senate seat, will forgo a bid for retiring Sen. Mike Johanns’ seat.

Bruning said he will seek re-election next year and described a Senate campaign as “extremely unlikely,” according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Several Republicans continue to mull bids for this GOP-held Senate seat including, most notably, Gov. Dave Heineman, who earlier expressed interest in running but has not announced a decision yet. Full story

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