Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

February 7, 2014

Ami Bera Challenger Gets Tea Party Backing

The Madison Project, a group that seeks to boost tea-party-aligned candidates, will endorse former Capitol Hill aide Igor Birman on Friday morning in the crowded GOP field in California’s 7th District, according to a release provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Birman, a former chief of staff to Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., faces a competitive top-two primary against former Rep. Doug Ose and autism activist Elizabeth Emken. All three are looking to oust freshman Democratic Rep. Ami Bera, a top GOP target in 2014.

The Madison Project plans to back up its endorsement by opening a get-out-the-vote headquarters in the district to help mobilize voters for Birman in the June 3 primary.

“Igor is uniquely articulate in communicating all the principles of conservative public policy and is the only candidate in this race who will not be beholden to liberal special interests,” Madison Project Political Director Drew Ryun said in a statement. “He won’t need to be pressured or shamed into keeping his campaign promises because he will pursue constitutional governance, even when the party leaders stray from its principles.”

Full story

February 6, 2014

Montana Gov. Going ‘Through a Process’ to Replace Max Baucus (Updated) (Video)

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:15 p.m. | The Senate’s confirmation Thursday of Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., as ambassador to China immediately sets off the need for an appointment to replace him.

The onus falls on Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, who must choose someone to fill out the remaining year of Baucus’ term. The governor has scheduled a press conference for Friday at noon ET.

Lt. Gov. John Walsh, who was elected on the same ticket as Bullock in 2012, is already running for Senate. While he’s the odds-on favorite to be appointed, his selection to replace Baucus is no sure thing.

An ally of the administration confirmed to CQ Roll Call that Bullock “has gone through a process, been very hands on, but kept it really close to him and top aides — he’s watched failed appointments in the past and he’s not the kind of guy to make stupid errors.

“He’s a lawyer and he’s thorough,” the source continued. “I don’t think anyone would be surprised if Bullock picks someone close to him — his lieutenant governor or someone from the cabinet — but I would be surprised if he does it without having spent a great amount of time weighing pros and cons.” Full story

February 5, 2014

Pryor Launches TV Ads Aimed at Cotton Record

Sen. Mark Pryor launched two TV ads Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor’s campaign launched two TV ads Wednesday going directly after his Republican opponent’s legislative record on Medicare.

The Democrat’s ads, airing statewide behind a “substantial” six-figure buy, feature one woman in each looking at their computers and highlighting what they had read about Rep. Tom Cotton.

The ads fit into the theme Democrats have pushed from the outset of the campaign — that Cotton has been “reckless and irresponsible” during his first term in the House. That messaging continued last week when Cotton voted against the farm bill conference report. Full story

Sandra Fluke Decides Against Congressional Bid

Women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke will not run for Congress in California’s open 33rd District, instead opting to run for a seat in the state Senate, according to a local report.

Fluke’s decision to run for lower office comes just one day after news broke that she had filed paperwork with the California Democratic Party to seek the seat of retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman.

“I am extremely moved by the outpouring of local and national support I have received since I announced that I was considering running for office. My entire career has been devoted to the public interest, whether representing victims of human trafficking or advocating for working families,” Fluke told the Los Angeles Times. “I am committed to continuing that fight in Sacramento, working to protect our environment, ensure our access to health care, and create the jobs that are desperately needed. While I strongly considered offering my candidacy for Congress, I feel there is a better way for me to advance the causes that are important to our community.”

Full story

Clay Aiken Announces Congressional Bid

Clay Aiken

(Ethan Miller/Getty Images File Photo)

“American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken launched his bid for Congress on Wednesday morning as a Democrat in North Carolina’s 2nd District.

In a video message, Aiken says he is running against GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers because he feels she votes against the best interests of her constituents.

“This is what’s wrong with Washington,” Aiken said in a video announcement on his website, ClayAiken.com. “That a Congresswoman would go [to Washington] and vote against the best interests of North Carolina military families and those who depend on the military for their jobs. To do it when you know it’s wrong is even worse.”

Full story

By Emily Cahn Posted at 7:26 a.m.
House 2016, N.C.-2

GOPAC Endorses Four House Candidates

GOPAC, an organization that grooms Republican state legislators to run for Congress, will endorse four candidates in competitive House races Wednesday, according to a release provided first to CQ Roll Call.

The group’s endorsement will come with monetary support, including the maximum allowed federal contributions, GOPAC member-driven donations and independent expenditures on behalf of the candidates, according to GOPAC President David Avella.

The state legislators who earned GOPAC’s endorsement are:

Full story

February 4, 2014

Super PAC TV Ad Touts Dan Sullivan in Alaska

An Alaska-based super PAC formed to support the Senate campaign of Republican Dan Sullivan launched a TV ad Tuesday that paints him in the mold of Ronald Reagan and longtime Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.

Sullivan, a former state attorney general and commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, is vying for the Republican nomination to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, who defeated Stevens in 2008. Begich is a top target of national Republicans, who are hoping to net six seats this fall to regain control of the Senate.

The ad, from Alaska’s Energy/America’s Values, is backed by a $41,000 buy and will air statewide this month, according to a release shared first with CQ Roll Call. It starts off with the voices of Reagan and Stevens before cutting to a clip from Sullivan’s campaign announcement press conference in October. Full story

Conservative Americans for Prosperity Launches Anti-Obamacare Ads in N.C., W.Va.

Americans for Prosperity, the powerful conservative group backed by brothers David and Charles Koch, on Tuesday announced a $1.4 million ad buy in North Carolina attacking Sen. Kay Hagan’s support of the 2010 health care law.

The group released spots against Hagan and also Rep. Nick J. Rahall II, D-WVa., who is facing a competitive re-election bid. The ads can be viewed here and here.

“Families in North Carolina and West Virginia are suffering from the many consequences of ObamaCare, which include cancelled plans, lost access to doctors, and rising costs. Kay Hagan and Nick Rahall have chosen to stand with President Obama, instead of the American people. They must be held accountable for supporting a law that has brought so much hardship to their constituents,” AFP President Tim Phillips said in a statement.

Full story

Conservative Considering Bid for Wolf Seat in Virginia

Updated 2:12 p.m. | Conservative state Del. Bob Marshall is “seriously considering” entering the open-seat race for Virginia’s 10th District.

Should Marshall run for the seat of retiring GOP Rep. Frank R. Wolf in this competitive Northern Virginia district, he would face fellow state Del. Barbara Comstock in a GOP “firehouse primary.” The seat is a top target for national Democrats.

“I spoke to Bob yesterday, and he is seriously considering it,” said John Whitbeck, chairman of the 10th District GOP. “He did not say he was entering the race at this point.”

Reached for comment, Marshall declined to discuss his intentions, saying only: “I’m talking to people, and that’s all I want to say.”

Marshall is a hard-line social conservative who sponsored the controversial “personhood” bill in the state Legislature in 2012. He lost bids for the Republican Senate nomination in both 2008 and 2012, first at a nominating convention with former Gov. Jim Gilmore and then in a primary against former Gov. George Allen. Full story

Sandra Fluke to Run for Congress in California

Fluke, left, has filed paperwork to run for Congress. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke has filed paperwork with the California Democratic Party to run for Congress in the open 33rd District.

Fluke is the third Democrat to join the race to replace retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman in this Los Angeles-based House seat. State Sen. Ted Lieu and former Los Angeles Controller Wendy Greuel announced bids last week.

Full story

New Jersey’s Rob Andrews to Resign From Congress (Updated) (Video)

Updated 9:31 a.m | Rep. Robert E. Andrews, D-N.J., will resign from Congress this month to take a job with a Philadelphia law firm, a Democratic aide confirmed to CQ Roll Call.

 

Andrews, an ally of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, is scheduled to host an 11:30 a.m. news conference in his southern New Jersey district, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, which first reported the news. Full story

February 3, 2014

Senate Democrats Backed Obama On Overwhelming Number of 2013 Votes, CQ Roll Call Vote Studies Show

Every vulnerable Senate Democrat up for re-election in 2014 voted with President Barack Obama at least 90 percent of the time in 2013, according to CQ Roll Call’s latest vote studies, released Monday.

Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor broke with the president most often, opposing him in 10 percent of all 2013 votes where the administration stated a preferred outcome. Sens. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, Mary Landrieu, D-La. and Kay Hagan, D-N.C., voted for Obama’s position 97, 97, and 96 percent of the time, respectively. Of those four, only Begich serves with a Republican who has bucked the GOP to back Obama with any frequency. (See our Jan. 21 story.)

Support for Obama’s initiatives from incumbent Democrats who are favored but not safe was just as high if not higher than from vulnerable members: Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Mark Warner of Virginia supported the president in 99 and 97 percent of votes.

On the flip side, Republican senators who are wary of primary challengers from the right opposed Obama so often that the president’s support from GOP senators in 2013 — 40 percent — was the lowest of his five years in office. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., opposed Obama 67 percent of the time. Sens. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, opposed the Obama position on 66, 50, 48 and 66 percent of votes respectively.

Full story

Goss Out, Benacquisto Running For Radel Seat (Updated)

Updated 10:58 a.m.| Florida State Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto will run for former Rep. Trey Radel’s seat in Congress, according to a Monday news release. On the same morning, her fellow Republican, Chauncey Goss, announced he will not run in the same race.

“I will respect the trust you place in me, and I will serve you with a dignity that reflects our shared commitment to getting Florida and our great nation back on the road to prosperity,” Benaquisto wrote in an email to supporters.

As for Goss, he ran against Radel in the 19th District’s 2012 primary and publicly said after Radel’s resignation that he was seriously considering another run. The son of former Rep. Porter Goss made his announcement in a Monday news release.

“After careful thought and discussion with my family, I am announcing that I will not be a candidate in this upcoming special election,” he said. “As a husband and a father, my responsibility to my family must at this time take priority over the level of commitment required to properly serve as our Representative in Congress.”

Businessman Curt Clawson and former Rep. Paige Kreegel are the most notable contenders for the seat at this point.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced the special election dates on Friday. The primary, which will all-but-determine the next occupant of this safe Republican seat, will take place on April 22. The general election is June 24.

January 31, 2014

DCCC Outraised NRCC in December

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $1.4 million more than its GOP counterpart in December.

A National Republican Congressional Committee source said Friday that the committee raised $4.2 million in December. The NRCC ended the year with $21 million in cash on hand.

The DCCC, which released its fundraising numbers Thursday, raised $5.6 million and had $29.3 million in cash on hand as of Dec. 31.

Both House campaign committees eliminated their debt earlier this cycle.

DSCC, NRSC Raised $4M in December

The Democratic and Republican Senate campaign arms both raised $4 million in December, according to figures released Friday.

The month ended a strong fundraising year for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which outraised its Republican counterpart by $16 million on the year.

The DSCC, which raised $52.6 million in 2013, paid down its debt to $3.75 million and ended the year with $12 million in cash on hand.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which got off to a slow start in 2013, raised $36.7 million last year and ended December with $8 million on hand and no debt.

Republicans must net six seats to win the majority in November.

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