Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 29, 2014

February 5, 2013

Arizona: State GOP Prepares for Redistricting — in 2022

The Arizona Republican Party announced Tuesday that it has formed a committee of “experts and stakeholders” to prepare for the next redistricting cycle, slated for 2022.

“Arizona’s political landscape today reflects a flawed process where election districts were drawn up based on a one-sided political agenda and too much secrecy, and I’m taking action now to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” state GOP Chairman Robert Graham said in a statement.

“We are looking for an honest and open process that doesn’t favor one group of voters over another — one that is truly bipartisan and treats voters equally while putting an end to the discrimination against Republicans.”

Arizona featured one of the most protracted, nasty rounds of redistricting of any state last cycle. But operatives from both parties admit that Democrats got the better end of the independent commission-drawn map during the decennial process.

Full story

Georgia: Westmoreland Expects Crowded GOP Senate Field

Georgia: Westmoreland Expects Crowded GOP Senate Field

Westmoreland expects many of his House GOP colleagues to run for Senate in Georgia (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., expects a crowded field of contenders for retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ seat — including some of his House colleagues.

Peach State Republicans have told CQ Roll Call they were hopeful to avoid multiple House members jumping into the race. But Westmoreland cautioned that probably won’t be the case.

“I don’t think you can keep all of ‘em from running at once,” he said in a Tuesday phone interview, less than 24 hours after announcing he would not seek the seat.

“Congressman [Phil] Gingrey is very much interested in it,” he said, noting his colleague’s significant $1.9 million war chest at the end of last year.

“I think Congressman [Jack] Kingston will run,” Westmoreland said, emphasizing Kingston’s close ties to the agriculture industry and how they could help in his bid.

Full story

Liberal Group Launches Ad Targeting McConnell on Gun Control

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal third-party group, began airing an ad Tuesday in Kentucky targeting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on gun control.

“As a gun owner and a veteran, I support the plan to ban assault weapons and keep guns out of the wrong hands, because I know these guns. I know what they can do,” an older man says in the ad. “Senator Mitch McConnell has taken thousands of dollars from gun manufacturers, and he opposes common sense reforms. Senator McConnell, whose side are you on?”

The ad is backed by a small buy — $27,700 over a week — on broadcast television and cable in two Kentucky television markets: Louisville and Lexington. It’s also on cable television in the Washington, D.C., media market, according to a PCCC spokesman.

Full story

Massachusetts: GOP State Representative Exploring Senate Run

Republican state Rep. Dan Winslow announced Tuesday that he is making the first official moves to run in the special election for the Bay State’s open seat.

“Today I’m taking the necessary steps to form an exploratory committee to test the waters for the U.S. Senate,” Winslow said in a statement. “We need to fix a broken Washington where progress is being hampered by partisan gridlock. If we continue to elect the same Washington politicians, we can not expect different results.”

Winslow told The Boston Globe he was “99 percent there” on a run.

Winslow is the first Republican to take official steps toward a bid for the seat formerly held by Secretary of State John Kerry. In recent days, many other Republicans, including former Sen. Scott P. Brown, have taken their names out of contention.

Massachusetts Reps. Edward J. Markey and Stephen F. Lynch are running for the Democratic nomination for Senate.

Roll Call rates the Senate special election as Likely Democratic.

Iowa: Latham Downplays Campaign Committee Name Change

Iowa: Latham Downplays Campaign Committee Name Change

Latham is mulling a 2014 Senate bid. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, confirmed Monday that he is continuing to consider running for Senate in 2014, but he said not to read too much into a decision to change the name of his campaign committee.

As first reported by Rothenberg Political Report, “Latham for Congress” was set to become “Iowans for Latham.” The GOP congressman acknowledged the change, although he said it was to reflect that his 3rd District, post-2010 redistricting, encompasses a broad swath in the battleground state.

“I thought that since we represented a lot of the state, that they just change the name of the committee. It doesn’t have any ramifications beyond that,” Latham told reporters, regarding the change of the name of his campaign committee. “We haven’t made any decision yet.”

If Latham runs for the seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, he could face a primary contest with Rep. Steve King, a conservative stalwart. King led a field of potential GOP candidates, including Latham, in a new poll.

Latham indicated that he and King have spoken about a potential primary battle but declined to offer details. He said they saw each other the night of Feb. 2 at the Iowa State University versus Baylor University basketball game but acknowledged they did not have an “in depth” discussion about the Senate race.

Latham said the two would talk more about it at some point, but that whether King runs for Senate would have no bearing on his decision.

“I think he’s a very viable member of Congress. I’m just going to worry about what I do, that’s all I can control,” Latham said.

Latham, a close ally of Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, is considered more mainstream in his appeal with voters than King, who has long enjoyed the support of conservative activists.

February 4, 2013

Georgia: Westmoreland Won’t Run for Senate

Georgia: Westmoreland Wont Run for Senate

Westmoreland announced Monday that he will not run to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., said Monday he will not be a candidate in the Peach State’s Senate race next year.

“After discussing it with family and friends, and after much deliberation and prayer, I have made the decision to not pursue a statewide office at this time,” Westmoreland said in a statement. “I am honored to be serving as the U.S. Congressman for Georgia’s Third District.”

Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ retirement opened the floodgates for aspiring Georgia Republicans seeking higher office. Republican Reps. Tom Price, Paul Broun and Jack Kingston all look likely to jump into the race soon.

Other Republicans, such as Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, may also mount a bid.

Full story

New Jersey: Lautenberg Raised $11,000 in 4th Quarter of 2012

New Jersey: Lautenberg Raised $11,000 in 4th Quarter of 2012

Lautenberg raised about $11,000 in the fourth quarter of 2012. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg raised just more than $11,000 in the final three months of 2012 — a paltry total for any incumbent preparing to seek re-election.

Lautenberg, who has not said yet whether he will seek a sixth term, reported $182,000 in the bank, according to his year-end fundraising report filed with the Federal Election Commission last week.

Lautenberg is one of the wealthiest members of Congress and has previously self-funded his own re-election to the tune of seven figures. The New Jersey Democrat also posted meager fundraising at the start of his last race in the 2008 cycle, but he loaned $1 million to seed his campaign in December 2006.

Latuenberg’s small haul will continue to fuel questions about whether the 89-year-old plans to run for re-election. Lautenberg faces a tough Democratic primary challenge from Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who announced last month that he is exploring a bid for the seat. Democrats are expected to hold the seat in 2014.

Full story

South Carolina: State Senator ‘Leaning Toward’ Graham Primary Challenge

South Carolina: State Senator Leaning Toward Graham Primary Challenge

Conservatives expect Graham will face a primary challenge in 2014, but it remains to be seen how competitive the race will be. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

South Carolina Republican state Sen. Lee Bright is “leaning toward” taking on Sen. Lindsey Graham in a primary.

“It’s something I’m considering. I haven’t made a final decision,” Bright told CQ Roll Call in a short telephone interview Monday afternoon, noting he expected to make a choice within the next 60 days. “There’s a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party, and I think Lindsey’s on the opposite side [from me].”

Asked on what issues they disagreed, Bright listed a comprehensive immigration overhaul, “man-made global warming” and the debt ceiling. Bright also griped that Graham “always wants to seem to rush to compromise” with Democrats. Full story

Alaska: Begich Raised $336K in 4th Quarter

Alaska: Begich Raised $336K in 4th Quarter

Begich has almost $1 million in cash on hand for the start of the campaign cycle. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Sen. Mark Begich brought in more than $300,000 in the fourth quarter, giving him almost $1 million in cash on hand to kick off his 2014 re-election campaign cycle.

Begich is one of six Senate Democrats seeking re-election in a state the president lost last year, making him one of his party’s most vulnerable members of the cycle. Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.

Several Republicans are taking serious looks at challenging him in 2014. Potential GOP opponents include Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who said in December that he formed an exploratory committee for the race, and 2010 Senate nominee Joe Miller.

Full story

Massachusetts: Field of Potential Republicans Narrows for Senate Special

Time is short for Massachusetts Republicans, and the list of potential GOP candidates to run in the upcoming Senate special election is increasingly small.

On Monday morning, former Gov. William F. Weld, a Republican, said he would forgo a bid to fill the seat formerly held by Secretary of State John Kerry.

“While I am grateful for the kind expressions of support and encouragement which I have received, I will not be a candidate for United States Senator from Massachusetts in the special election this year,” Weld said in a statement.

Weld joins a growing list of Bay State Republicans who have rejected a Senate campaign. To make matters more daunting for the local GOP, any potential Republican candidate must collect 10,000 voter signatures by the end of the month.

Tagg Romney, the son of 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, won’t run, ABC News reported. Over the weekend, former state Sen. Richard Tisei said he wouldn’t mount a bid either.

Full story

Shop Talk: EMILY’s List Announces 2014 Team

EMILY’s List, the Democratic group that backs female candidates who support abortion rights, announced its senior leadership team for the coming cycle.

Executive Director Amy Dacey and Development Director Amalia Stott will remain in their positions.

  • Jonathan Parker has been named campaigns director. He was previously the group’s political director.
  • Denise Feriozzi will be the new political director. She is a veteran of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and comes to the WOMEN VOTE! division of EMILY’s List.
  • Jess McIntosh has been upped to communications director after two cycles as deputy communications director.
  • Kate Black has also been promoted. She is the new research director. She was the group’s 2012 deputy director for research and communications.

February 3, 2013

Massachusetts: Tisei Not Running for Senate

Massachusetts: Tisei Not Running for Senate

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Massachusetts state Sen. Richard Tisei, a Republican, said he would not be a candidate in the special election for Senate in a statement late Saturday night.

“I believe it’s imperative that the Republican party put forward a strong candidate who can help bring much-needed change to Washington. Unfortunately, the timing is simply not right for me to do so — deeply as I feel about the need to strongly compete in this election,” he said. “It was also my desire to make this decision as quickly as possible so that other potential candidates would be able to consider whether they should run.”

Former Sen. Scott Brown’s decision Friday not to run for the open seat previously held by now-Secretary of State John Kerry left the GOP with few potential candidates who could seriously contest the seat. Full story

Conservatives Blast New Senate Group Designed to Navigate Primaries

The news Sunday that a Republican group was forming to recruit better Senate candidates and counter conservative organizations’ attempts to sway primaries was met with immediate antagonism by at least one conservative group.

The Senate Conservatives Fund, founded by former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, issued a statement calling the project “another example of the Republican establishment’s hostility toward its conservative base” and even criticizing the new group’s name, Conservative Victory Project. Full story

February 2, 2013

Colorado: Andrew Romanoff Announces Bid Against Mike Coffman

Colorado: Andrew Romanoff Announces Bid Against Mike Coffman

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former state Speaker Andrew Romanoff announced Saturday that he is running for Congress in Colorado’s 6th District. The Democrat made the announcement on his website. Full story

February 1, 2013

Massachusetts: Republicans Tisei, Winslow Weighing Possible Senate Bids

Massachusetts: Republicans Tisei, Winslow Weighing Possible Senate Bids

Tisei lost a tough congressional race in 2012. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former state Sen. Richard Tisei and state Rep. Dan Winslow, both Republicans, floated the possibility that they might run for Senate in Massachusetts on the heels of  former Sen. Scott P. Brown’s announcement that he will not run in the special election to succeed Secretary of State John Kerry.

Without Brown, the Republican bench in Massachusetts is thin, with no obvious candidate for a statewide bid.

“I will reflect this weekend about my own family’s needs and whether there is room in the national Republican Party for a member who is both fiscally prudent and socially tolerant,” Winslow, an attorney and former chief counsel to Brown and ex-Gov. Mitt Romney, said in a statement.

Tisei, who lost a hard-fought race against Democratic Rep. John F. Tierney in November, said he was evaluating the race.

“[I]n the coming days, I will be talking with family, friends, and supporters to consider the best role that I can play in helping to bring new, alternative leadership to Washington,” he said in a statement.

Democratic Reps. Stephen F. Lynch and Edward J. Markey are battling for the Democratic nomination. The general election will be held June 25. CQ Roll Call rates the Massachusetts Senate special election as Likely Democratic.

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