Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 21, 2014

October 22, 2012

California: Dueling Polls in Central Valley House District

State Assemblyman David Valadao’s campaign for the new 21st district released a poll last Tuesday that showed the Republican ahead of his Democratic opponent by 20 points.

On Friday, the campaign of John Hernandez, CEO of the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, released its own poll that showed the Democrat much closer, with Valadao ahead 41 percent to 37 percent.

The Valadao poll, conducted Oct. 8-9 by Moore Information, surveyed 400 likely voters and had a 5-point margin of error. The Hernandez poll, conducted Oct. 13-15 by FM3, surveyed 400 likely voters and had a 4.9-point margin of error.

Until recently, the race had attracted little interest from outside groups. The GOP-aligned Crossroads GPS announced a significant buy last week in this

majority-minority district to assist Valadao. Neither national party’s House campaign arm has gone on the air here, though the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched robocalls last week.

Missouri: Todd Akin Calls Controversial Comments ‘Distractions’

Missouri: Todd Akin Calls Controversial Comments Distractions

Rep. Todd Akin (CQ Roll Call file photo)

GOP Rep. Todd Akin said today that many of the issues being debated in the Missouri Senate race are “distractions” from the topics voters most care about.

“If the race is going to be decided on distractions, then that’s not good for us,” Akin said in an interview with KMOV in St. Louis. “But if people take a look and say what kind of country do we want to live in for the next four years, they’re going to take a look at the record.”

Akin, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, has been plagued by a series of controversial statements. In an indication of the difficulty that Akin is having keeping the focus on his message, the portion of today’s KMOV interview that aired on the local 6 p.m. news in St. Louis pertained exclusively to the controversies, including one that took place Monday.

“If Claire McCaskill were a dog, she’d be a ‘Bullshitsu’,” top Akin adviser Rick Tyler said on Twitter. For now, McCaskill’s re-election campaign is content to allow Akin and his political adviser’s comments to speak for themselves.Missouri: Todd Akin Calls Controversial Comments Distractions

Full story

Daily Ad Track

What a difference a debate can make.

About a month ago, the biggest trend among Democrats was to tie Republicans to presidential nominee Mitt Romney in an effort to sink GOP Congressional candidates. Two weeks out from Election Day — guess what? Republican are employing that strategy in reverse as they seek to ride Romney’s coattails in certain states and House districts.

Here’s what cut through the ad clutter today:

Indiana Senate

State Treasurer Richard Mourdock earned a lot of attention this morning when he released an ad with Romney making a personal appeal on camera for Mourdock’s election to the Senate. The Mourdock campaign was not able to immediately return a request for buy information on the ad.

Full story

Minnesota: Democrat Holds 7-Point Lead in 8th District Race, Poll Shows

Minnesota: Democrat Holds 7 Point Lead in 8th District Race, Poll Shows

Rep. Chip Cravaack (above) trails opponent Rick Nolan in a poll released today. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Rick Nolan (D) could have the edge over Rep. Chip Cravaack (R) in the 8th district, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune poll released today that showed the challenger with a 7-point lead.

Nolan led Cravaack 50 percent to 43 percent, according to the newspaper’s poll of 1,000 likely voters conducted Oct. 16. The poll has a margin of error of 3 points.

The new poll showing Nolan in the lead is in stark contrast to three polls released earlier in the month, each of which showed the race to be deadlocked. The Nolan campaign is claiming the momentum in this. The Cravaack campaign disputed the findings of the Star Tribune poll.

Full story

California: Crossroads GPS Helping Mary Bono Mack

Republican-aligned Crossroads GPS has added California’s GOP-held 36th district to its target list for television advertising spending over the final weeks of the campaign.

The group is spending a total of $2.2 million on TV this week across nine districts, part of an $8.1 million investment in 11 House races that it announced last week. The addition of Rep. Mary Bono Mack’s (R-Calif.) district increases that number to 12 and is further confirmation that the Palm Springs-based district is one of the top battlegrounds in the country.

Bono Mack is being challenged by physician Raul Ruiz (D).

Full story

Ohio: Josh Mandel Internal Poll Shows Tied Senate Race

Ohio: Josh Mandel Internal Poll Shows Tied Senate Race

Ohio Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel makes a stop on his bus tour at the courthouse in Caldwell. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

MARIETTA, Ohio  — State Treasurer Josh Mandel’s internal polling shows a statistically tied race with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), and the Republican says he has a path to victory even if Mitt Romney doesn’t win the crucial Buckeye State.

According to a Public Opinion Strategies poll taken Oct. 16-17, Mandel and Brown were virtually tied at 44 percent to 43 percent.

Most recent independent public polling shows Brown with a high single-digit lead, and Roll Call continues to rate this race as Leans Democratic. Republicans privately acknowledge Romney must win the Buckeye State for Mandel to succeed in toppling Brown.

But Mandel disputes that.

“While I believe he’s going to win and I’m doing everything I can to help him, we believe we have a path to victory, whether or not he wins,” Mandel said during an interview Friday on a downtown stoop in this river town bordering West Virginia. Full story

October 21, 2012

Maine: Negative Ads Dominate Senate Race

In Maine Senate’s race, unlike other contests across the country, most of the intrigue likely lies not in who will win, but what the winner will do once elected.

Former Gov. Angus King’s (I) lead has narrowed in recent polls and Roll Call rates the race as Leans Independent. But the flood of outside money that has been pouring into the state — and the negative ads that come along with it — could affect King’s thinking, if elected, on which party he might caucus with. King has not formally stated if he will join Democrats or the GOP if he wins the seat being vacated by moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, Crossroads GPS and the Chamber of Commerce have sunk millions combined into Maine, almost exclusively on anti-King ads. Of course, the purpose of the spots are to give GOP candidate Charlie Summers a chance at winning and have made a dent in King’s high popularity in the state. But the side effect of such a campaign is that it might make it more difficult for King to choose to caucus with Republicans and is indicative of the assumption by national Republicans that King will choose the Democrats. Full story

Missouri: Todd Akin Analogizes Claire McCaskill to a Dog Fetching Federal Money

Missouri: Todd Akin Analogizes Claire McCaskill to a Dog Fetching Federal Money

Rep. Todd Akin (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Todd Akin made another impolitic statement Saturday that is gaining traction with national media outlets.

This time, the Missouri Republican, who is challenging Sen. Claire McCaskill (D), made an analogy in which he compared his female opponent to a dog.

“She goes to Washington, D.C., it’s a little bit like one of those dogs, ‘fetch,’” Akin said at a campaign event Saturday in Springfield, according to PoliticMo, which obtained the audio clip. Full story

Max Cleland, Inspired by Bobby Kennedy, Looks to Young Joe

Max Cleland, Inspired by Bobby Kennedy, Looks to Young Joe

Joe Kennedy, the Democratic candidate for Massachusetts' 4th district, former Sen. Max Cleland and Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren appear at a rally at Laborers Hall in Hopkinton, Mass. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

HOPKINTON, Mass. — Former Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.) told the story here on Saturday of how he came to politics. It began with an undergraduate, floundering at Stetson University, who came upon a picture of fellow students meeting then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

As Cleland, a triple-amputee Vietnam War veteran who served in the Senate from 1997 to 2003, spoke about the spark of inspiration that photo lit in his mind, Kennedy’s grandson, Congressional candidate Joe Kennedy III, stood behind him.

Cleland, 70, on a tour of events in support of Democratic Senate nominee Elizabeth Warren, took a few minutes to reflect on the meaning of Kennedy, 32, introducing him. And then he gave the candidate, running for the open seat in the 4th district, his endorsement.

“Hearing Joe talk about public service, I wouldn’t be here at all without some of his forebearers,” he told a rapt audience. Full story

After ‘Brutal’ Races, Steve Stivers Sits Pretty in Redrawn Ohio District

After Brutal Races, Steve Stivers Sits Pretty in Redrawn Ohio District

(Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio — It’s less than three weeks before Election Day, and Rep. Steve Stivers (R) appears relaxed for the first time in six years.

After running in the battleground state’s most competitive House district for two cycles, Stivers will coast to re-election in November — thanks to redistricting.

“They were brutal,” Stivers said of his 2008 and 2010 races, while lining up to drive with his toddler, Sarah, in the Pumpkin Show Parade here. After the GOP-led redraw, “we’re not on anybody’s target list,” Stivers added.

That’s a first. Full story

October 20, 2012

Illinois: Jesse Jackson Jr. Robocalls Constituents

Illinois: Jesse Jackson Jr. Robocalls Constituents

Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who is on his way back to the Mayo Clinic, is robocalling his constituents in Illinois’ 2nd district, asking for their patience and promising to continue to serve the district at some point in the future.

“For nearly 18 years I have served the people of the second district, I am anxious to return to work on your behalf, but at this time it is against medical advice, and while I will always give my all to my constituents, I ask for your continued patience as I work to get my health back,” the Democrat says in the call, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Full story

Bill Clinton to Rally for Southern California House Candidates

Bill Clinton to Rally for Southern California House Candidates

Former President Bill Clinton introduces musician Bruce Springsteen as they campaign for President Barack Obama's reelection during an appearance at Cuyahoga Community College in Parma. Ohio. (Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Bill Clinton will attend a Southern California rally on Tuesday to formally endorse Democratic Congressional candidates in a region fertile with pickup opportunities for the party.

The former president is scheduled to attend a “California’s Voice” afternoon rally at the University of California, Irvine, a serene, suburban Orange County campus between Los Angeles and San Diego. There he will endorse five candidates either challenging a Republican incumbent or running for an open seat. Full story

Political Stars Light Up Massachusetts Campaign Trail

Political Stars Light Up Massachusetts Campaign Trail

Photo by Tom Williams/ CQ Roll Call

MELROSE, Mass. — Top Senate surrogates descended on Massachusetts this weekend to stump for their party’s candidates and gin up excitement in the competitive Senate race and rough and tumble Congressional contest here.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) this morning stood shoulder to shoulder with Sen. Scott Brown (R) on a stage surrounded by hundreds of sign-waving supporters.

After Brown gave a fiery version of his stump speech, McCain took the microphone. “I’ve been traveling the country for various candidates,” said McCain, who received a hero’s welcome of loud and sustained applause. “This man is the one I want most in the United States Senate working side by side.”

Later, McCain smiled and shook hands on stage with Congressional candidate Richard Tisei, who had spoken earlier. Full story

Arizona: Jeff Flake Delivers GOP’s Weekly Address

Rep. Jeff Flake is the second Arizona Republican in a month to deliver the GOP’s weekly address.

The move appears to be an effort to boost Flake’s Senate campaign and to present a national face of fiscal conservatism.

“My wife, Cheryl, and I celebrated some great news this week. We became grandparents for the first time. Aiden Jeffrey Flake was lucky enough to be born in the greatest country in the world,” he said. “While it will be years before he is ready to start school, his share of the national debt is already over $50,000.

“If we continue along our current budget trajectory, our grandson is simply not going to have the same opportunities that my grandparents created for me,” said Flake, who has used this personal story previously in the campaign.

He is locked in a Tossup race against former Surgeon General Richard Carmona. This is an open seat created by Sen. Jon Kyl’s (R) retirement.

Flake’s fellow Arizonan, House candidate Vernon Parker, delivered the GOP address in late September. He is in a Tossup race against former state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D) in Arizona’s 9th district.

October 19, 2012

NRSC Raised $12.9 Million in September

The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised $12.9 million last month, the committee announced today.

That strong monthly haul is about $2.7 million less than its Democratic counterpart, which announced bringing in $15.6 million in September. The NRSC raised a total of $25 million in the third quarter, and ended September with $23.1 million in cash on hand.

Republicans have an opportunity to win a majority in the Senate, which Democrats currently control 53-47.

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