Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 2, 2014

February 25, 2013

Kentucky: Liberal Group Launches Second Spot Targeting McConnell on Guns

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal third-party group, launched its second gun control advertisement aimed at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Monday.

The spot opens with Gary Nutt of Cub Run, Ky., holding a rifle and walking down a road.

“I am a Vietnam vet and a hunter,” he says. “I only shot my rifle one time this last season. One shot, one deer. But I’d be a pretty bad hunter if I needed an assault rifle to shoot that buck.”

Nutt goes on to say that he supports an assault weapons ban. “The NRA and the gun manufacturers have given a ton of money to Sen. Mitch McConnell,” Nutt says. “And now he’s blocking reform. Senator, whose side are you on?”

Full story

February 24, 2013

Priebus Traveling West to Meet With Minorities and Tech Experts

Priebus Traveling West to Meet With Minorities and Tech Experts

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will head west this week to hear from minority voters and technology experts as a part of his committee’s efforts to rebuild and modernize the GOP.

Priebus’ four-day swing is scheduled to take him to Denver on Monday for a listening session with Hispanic voters and GOP activists, then to Los Angeles on Tuesday for listening sessions with Hispanic and Asian voters.

On Wednesday, Priebus will be in San Francisco for meetings with technology experts; a visit to Facebook is included on the chairman’s itinerary. Priebus will then travel to Seattle for a meeting focused on early voting, an aspect of voter turnout where Republicans continue to trail the Democrats significantly.

Priebus’ trip is part of the Growth and Opportunity Project, the RNC’s autopsy of what went wrong in the 2012 presidential election and how the GOP can improve its prospects going forward. The report, due to be publicized sometime in March, is focused on how Republicans can do better with minority voters and develop a technologically superior get-out-the-vote operation.

Full story

February 22, 2013

Arkansas: Democrat Ready to Run for 4th District if Cotton Seeks Senate

Arkansas: Democrat Ready to Run for 4th District if Cotton Seeks Senate

Maloch is ready to run if Cotton, above, seeks the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Arkansas state Sen. Bruce Maloch, a Democrat, is eyeing Arkansas’ 4th District — but only under one condition.

“If the seat is open, I’d definitely be interested in looking at it,” Maloch said in a telephone interview with CQ Roll Call on Thursday night. But if it’s not, he added, he’s “probably not interested in pursuing it.”

Freshman Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., represents the 4th District. Maloch, like many Razorback State politicos, has heard increasing speculation that Cotton might run against Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor in 2014.

Cotton’s chief of staff, Doug Coutts, did not immediately return a phone call late Thursday. Coutts had no comment on the Senate bid speculation last month.

Full story

February 21, 2013

Thune Tells Second-Graders He Has No Plan for White House Run

Thune Tells Second Graders He Has No Plan for White House Run

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune told some elementary school students Thursday that he does not plan to seek the presidency.

“Do I plan on running for president?” Thune said. “I don’t. I enjoy the job I have. And being the president is a very, very hard job.”

Thune made the comment during questioning from a room full of second-graders at Mark Twain Elementary in Sioux Falls in Thune’s home state of South Dakota. They were videotaped by KELO-TV, the local CBS affiliate. Thune previously passed on a 2012 run for the White House.

Full story

DSCC Raised Millions More Than NRSC in January

DSCC Raised Millions More Than NRSC in January

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran is chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised just $1.5 million in January, according to its most recent fundraising report.

That’s significantly less than the $4.2 million the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee brought in last month.

The DSCC reported it had $3 million in the bank at the end of January, while the NRSC reported slightly more — $3.3 million — cash on hand at the same time.

But while the NRSC reported $10 million in debt, the DSCC had much more — $15.7 million — in arrears, according to its fundraising report.

The NRSC did not hire senior staff until Jan. 30, part of reason behind the committee’s meager fundraising.

Full story

Kentucky: Governor Says Ashley Judd Would Make ‘Very Serious Candidate’ for Senate

Democratic Kentucky Gov. Steven L. Beshear said Thursday that actress Ashley Judd would make a “very serious candidate” for Senate, according to a cn|2 video.

“I talked to Ashley Judd during the Kentucky Ball that was part of the inaugural ceremonies in Washington in January,” Beshear said. “And then she’s been trying to arrange, and will be arranging, some more conversations here in the next month or so.”

Judd, a Democrat, is considering a run against Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Most recently, she indicated an increasing seriousness about a campaign by reportedly meeting with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and dining with top Democrats in Louisville, Ky.

But some Kentucky Democrats fear Judd would be a drag on their ticket.

Full story

South Carolina: Duncan, Mulvaney Endorse Grooms in 1st District

South Carolina: Duncan, Mulvaney Endorse Grooms in 1st District

Mulvaney has endorsed in a South Carolina House race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Palmetto State Republican Reps. Jeff Duncan and Mick Mulvaney backed state Sen. Larry Grooms on Thursday for the GOP nomination in the 1st District special election.

Grooms, who faces 15 opponents including former Gov. Mark Sanford in a March 19 primary, will likely receive a major boost from their endorsements.

GOP insiders see Grooms as ideologically similar to Sanford — very conservative — but without the former governor’s political baggage. While governor in 2009, Sanford infamously disappeared from the state for days and then admitted to an extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina.

Full story

Nevada: Running Again in 2016? Reid Says, ‘Sure, Why Not?’

Nevada: Running Again in 2016? Reid Says, Sure, Why Not?

Reid indicated he will seek re-election in 2016. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

His answer wasn’t exactly Shermanesque, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., indicated to his home-state press Wednesday that he intends to run for re-election in 2016.

“Sure, why not?” Reid, 73, responded to a question, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.

That’s certainly not the kind of statement that will halt questions about his political future, and Reid has years before he needs to make a decision. Full story

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 1:42 p.m.
Nev. Senate, Nevada

New Jersey: Survey Shows Menendez’s Popularity Sliding

New Jersey: Survey Shows Menendezs Popularity Sliding

Menendez's poll numbers went south in a recent survey. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Robert Menendez’s popularity in the Garden State has taken a big hit following the drumbeat of media reports about his alleged improprieties.

In a new poll from Quinnipiac University, 41 percent of registered New Jersey voters surveyed said they disapprove of the way Menendez is handling his job as senator, while only 36 percent approve. A month ago in a similar poll, 51 percent approved and 33 percent disapproved.

Twenty-eight percent of those polled said Menendez was “honest and trustworthy,” while 44 percent said he was not.

Those numbers would be daunting for any incumbent facing re-election. But Menendez, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, will not face voters until 2018. He won re-election with 59 percent of the vote last November.

Another Democrat, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, on the other hand, is exploring a run for the state’s open Senate seat in 2014. He fared well in the poll, with 59 percent saying they had a favorable opinion of him and only 11 percent seeing him unfavorably. Potential Republican candidate Geraldo Rivera didn’t do as well: only 20 percent had a favorable opinion of him, with 39 percent seeing him unfavorably.

The Quinnipiac University poll used live interviewers to survey 1,149 registered voters on land lines and cellphones Feb. 13-17. The poll’s margin of error was 2.9 points.

Shop Talk: DSCC Picks Caprara as Political Director

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee officials plan to name Anne Caprara as their political director for the 2014 cycle Thursday.

“Anne is a rising star in the Democratic Party and I’m pleased that she is returning as a member of our team for the 2014 cycle,” DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil said in a statement. “We know the challenges that we face this time around and it’s not going to be easy — but battle tested talent like Anne who knows what it takes to build strong campaigns will be one of the reasons we hold the Senate.”

Caprara served as the committee’s deputy political director during the 2012 cycle. She has also been a top aide to former Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Ohio, and has worked for EMILY’s List, an advocacy group promoting female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights.

Check out more of the committee’s hires for the 2014 cycle here.

February 20, 2013

DSCC Raised $4.2M in January

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $4.2 million in January, a strong kickoff to what appears to be a challenging election cycle.

After picking up two seats in November, Democrats entered the 2014 election cycle with a 55-45 Senate majority and $3 million in the bank as of Jan. 30. Despite the added cushion, the party faces a lopsided landscape that put its control of the chamber in jeopardy next year, if Republicans can capitalize. Democrats are defending 21 seats, compared with 14 for the GOP.

The committee released its fundraising figures Wednesday, when monthly reports were due to the Federal Election Commission. The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is still revving up for the cycle under new leadership, had not yet announced its monthly fundraising.

The DSCC did not release the amount of debt it has left over from last cycle, and neither committee’s report was available by press time. As of Dec. 31, the DSCC carried $16 million in debt and the NRSC owed $10 million.

Nebraska: Senate Conservatives Fund Warns Against Fortenberry Bid

Nebraska: Senate Conservatives Fund Warns Against Fortenberry Bid

The Senate Conservatives Fund will not support Fortenberry if he runs for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

An influential conservative group has warned its members about a potential Senate bid from Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb.

The Senate Conservatives Fund declared, “BEWARE OF FORTENBERRY,” in a Wednesday email.

“Congressman Fortenberry has a big-spending voting record in the House of Representatives and is not the kind of fiscal conservative we need in the U.S. Senate,” the group’s executive director, Matt Hoskins, wrote in the email. “In fact, he received a dismal 51% rating in the latest Heritage Action for America scorecard.”

Fortenberry already publicly acknowledged his interest in running for retiring Sen. Mike Johanns’ seat. But Nebraska Republicans are waiting for Gov. Dave Heineman to make a decision about the seat. They say the governor would clear the field if he ran for Johanns’ seat.

In the meantime, ambitious Republicans are making preparations if Heineman does not run. The race could pit more establishment-backed Republicans against grass-roots-supported, more conservative candidates.

“It’s going to be the Wild West if the governor decides not to run,”said Jordan McGrain, executive director of the Nebraska Republican Party.

Full story

Nebraska: Former State Treasurer Osborn Interested in Senate Run

Nebraska: Former State Treasurer Osborn Interested in Senate Run

Johanns will retire in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Nebraska state Treasurer Shane Osborn, a decorated naval aviator, said he is “undoubtedly interested” in running for the GOP nomination to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Mike Johanns.

In a Wednesday interview with CQ Roll Call, Osborn said he has received many encouraging calls to run since Johanns shocked Nebraska Republicans with his retirement announcement Monday.

Republicans see Gov. Dave Heineman as their most formidable candidate for Johanns’ seat, and many potentials candidates are waiting for him to decide before they make a move on the race. A spokeswoman for Heineman told CQ Roll Call in a Wednesday email, “The Governor is taking a very serious look at it.”

Other names on the GOP radar include state Attorney General Jon Bruning and state Treasurer Don Stenberg, who both lost bids for Senate in 2012; plus the state’s three House members, Reps. Jeff Fortenberry, Adrian Smith and Lee Terry; and businessman Pete Ricketts.

Fortenberry already acknowledged his interest in the race.

Osborn became famous in 2001 when, as a naval aviator, a plane he piloted collided with a Chinese plane in international waters.

CQ Roll Call rates this as a Safe Republican seat.

NRA Targets Democratic Senators Up in 2014 With Local Newspaper Ads

NRA Targets Democratic Senators Up in 2014 With Local Newspaper Ads

The National Rifle Association will target several senators up for re-election in 2014, including Pryor. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Rifle Association will launch a print advertising campaign targeting mostly Democratic senators up for re-election in 2014, according to sources close to the group.

On Thursday, full-page ads are scheduled to run in local newspapers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Maine, North Carolina and West Virginia. They will be supplemented by digital advertising in these states and 10 others, including Alaska, Colorado, Montana, New Hampshire and South Dakota.

Additionally, the group has scheduled full-page ads to run Feb. 25 in regional editions of USA Today, reaching parts of 15 states.

The campaign is estimated to cost north of $375,000, sources said. Full story

February 19, 2013

West Virginia: Goodwin Forgoes Senate Bid in 2014

West Virginia: Goodwin Forgoes Senate Bid in 2014

Goodwin will not run for Senate in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Sen. Carte P. Goodwin will not run for Senate, citing his family as the reason in a West Virginia MetroNews report.

His decision ensures Democrats must continue their search for a candidate to run in this competitive Senate race in 2014.

Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s retirement paved the way for an open-seat race in West Virginia this cycle. Both parties expect a competitive race, and CQ Roll Call rates it as a Tossup.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, declared her candidacy for the Senate seat last year. Polling shows she’s a strong contender — possibly the front-runner, depending on which Democrat wins the nomination.

Democrats considering runs include businessman Ralph Baxter, state Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Robin Davis, Rep. Nick J. Rahall II and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant.

In 2010, Goodwin was appointed to the Senate as a caretaker for the seat after the death of Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.

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