Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 17, 2014

March 5, 2013

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

Louisiana: Boustany Will Not Run for Senate

Louisiana: Boustany Will Not Run for Senate

Boustany announced Monday that he will not run for Senate in 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Louisiana Republican Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. will not take on three-term Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu in 2014.

Boustany’s name had been floated in recent weeks as a potential GOP challenger, but a spokesman for the congressman told CQ Roll Call Monday that he has opted to stay in the House.

“While Congressman Boustany is honored to have been encouraged to run for the U.S. Senate in 2014, he remains dedicated to the 3rd Congressional District of South Louisiana,” spokesman Neal Patel said in a statement. “Serving on the House Ways and Means Committee allows Congressman Boustany to focus on issues important to Louisiana ranging from trade, to comprehensive tax reform, to health care. He looks forward to continue representing South Louisiana on Capitol Hill.”

Landrieu, a Democrat in an increasingly Republican state, is seen as vulnerable. CQ Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.

But no congressman has yet pulled the trigger on a challenge, although Pelican State GOP Reps. John Fleming and Bill Cassidy, as well as former Rep. Jeff Landry, are considering running against her. Full story

American Crossroads Excoriates Obama Group (VIDEO)

Members of Congress have been remarkably quiet about President Barack Obama’s controversial new advocacy group, Organizing for Action, but the GOP super PAC American Crossroads has jumped in with an excoriating new video that rebrands the president’s group “Organizing for Access.”

Never mind that Organizing for Action operates in exactly the same way as Crossroads GPS, the politically active nonprofit that is an arm of American Crossroads. Crossroads GPS spent $70.6 million on independent campaign expenditures in the 2012 elections, according to the Sunlight Foundation. But like OFA, Crossroads GPS operates outside the disclosure rules as a 501(c)(4) social welfare nonprofit.

Obama organizers pledged to voluntarily disclose donors to the group when they announced in January that Organizing for Action would take up where the Obama campaign left off, rallying grass-roots support for the president’s agenda. But the group has drawn a steady drumbeat of criticism and bad press, including recent editorials in The New York Times and The Washington Post casting its activities as disturbing end-run around campaign finance laws.

As reported in the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, donors of $500,000 or more will be rewarded with quarterly meetings with the president. Run by Jim Messina, Obama’s 2012 national campaign manager, who just set up his own for-profit political consulting firm, OFA’s recent spending includes $100,000 on ads to pressure GOP lawmakers to back gun control measures. Common Cause President Bob Edgar called on Obama last week to shut the group down.

The American Crossroads ad features video clips of Chuck Todd, chief White House correspondent for NBC News, saying, “This just looks bad. It looks like the White House is selling access,” and asking, “I wonder what candidate Obama would say about this?” The satirical ad, which hawks “Organizing for Access” as a commercial product that accepts “all major credit cards, personal checks and large stacks of cash,” also features a video clip of Obama saying, “We’ve got to change how business is done in Washington.”

Georgia: Tom Graves Not Running for Senate

Georgia: Tom Graves Not Running for Senate

Graves will not run for Senate in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Graves said Monday he would not run for the state’s open Senate seat, narrowing the potential field of GOP congressmen running statewide in 2014 to four.

“My decision rested on what would be best for my family, my district and the state of Georgia, and I have concluded that the right path for now is to forgo this Senate race and continue serving in my current role,” Graves said in a statement.

Republican Rep. Paul Broun is the only declared candidate in the Senate race. GOP Reps. Jack Kingston, Phil Gingrey and Tom Price are considering bids, along with a number of current and former state elected officials.

Democratic Rep. John Barrow is also considered a potential candidate for the seat currently held by retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Full story

Shop Talk: RNC Names Chris McNulty as Political Director

Shop Talk: RNC Names Chris McNulty as Political Director

Priebus announced the RNC's new political director. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican National Committee has tapped Chris McNulty to serve as its new political director.

“I am confident that Chris’s enthusiasm, energy, extensive political background at the state level, specifically in the areas of grassroots organization and ground game experience will prove invaluable as we move forward,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement released Monday.

McNulty comes from Speaker John A. Boehner’s political organization, where he served as executive director. He moved up the ranks of GOP politics in his native Ohio and was a regional political director at the RNC from 2006 to 2010.

Full story

March 1, 2013

Colorado: Bennet Backs Former Primary Foe for House

Colorado: Bennet Backs Former Primary Foe for House

Bennet endorsed Romanoff, who is running for the 6th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., on Friday endorsed his one-time primary opponent, former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, in his campaign for Colorado’s 6th District.

“Andrew Romanoff has a long record of fighting for Coloradans and a commitment to empowering our next generation with greater opportunity,” Bennet, who is now the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement.

In 2010, Romanoff displeased many party officials when he challenged Bennet, then an appointed senator.  The primary quickly turned bitter, lasted late into the summer and even pitted former President Bill Clinton against national Democrats. Bennet defeated Romanoff by fewer than 10 points and went on to win a full senate term in November.

What a difference three years makes. Now Democratic Party leaders, including Bennet, are lining up behind Romanoff for what’s expected to be one of the most competitive House races.

Full story

Kentucky: Judd Avoids Senate Race Talk at DC Speech

Kentucky: Judd Avoids Senate Race Talk at DC Speech

Judd visited Washington, D.C. on Friday to speak to students at George Washington University. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Actress Ashley Judd spoke to a ballroom of college students about public health on Friday afternoon, never directly addressing what she referred to as “elephant in the room” — a potential Senate bid against Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky

At a long-planned event at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Judd spoke for more than an hour about global women’s health, gender equality and violence against women.

In recent weeks, Judd has sent increasingly clear signs that she is moving toward a Senate run. She reportedly met with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, had dinner in Louisville, Ky., with Democratic insiders and donors and has reached out to top state Democratic officials.

But in her speech to about 100 students, Judd’s only references to her potential Senate run were oblique. One student asking a question said she was nervous.

“I’m a lot more nervous than y’all are, I promise,” Judd replied. “I mean, there are people here who don’t give a rat’s you-know-what about public health.”

Full story

Louisiana: Dardenne ‘Pondering’ Run Against Landrieu

Louisiana: Dardenne Pondering Run Against Landrieu

Landrieu is a top GOP target in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, a popular GOP figure in the Pelican State, confirmed he’s “pondering” a run against three-term Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu.

Long thought to be a likely contender for governor, Dardenne told CQ Roll Call that recent polling had him mulling the Senate race — one of the national GOP’s top targets in 2014.

“You can’t help but ponder it when you see some numbers like that and it gets people talking and wanting to know what you may be interested in doing,” he said in a Friday morning phone interview. “I guess ‘pondering’ is the best word — at least for right now.”

Dardenne trailed Landrieu by only a few points, 43 percent to 46 percent, in a recent hypothetical horse-race matchup from the automated Democratic survey firm Public Policy Polling.

Full story

February 28, 2013

Florida: Young Mum on Re-Election

Florida: Young Mum on Re Election

Young on Thursday declined to discuss whether he will seek re-election. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ-Roll Call File Photo)

Florida Rep. C.W. Bill Young, 82, said Thursday he has not made a decision yet on whether to seek re-election in 2014.

“I never make any announcement or, actually, a decision this — this is way too early!” the Republican told CQ Roll Call during votes on Capitol Hill.

First elected to Congress in 1970, Young would likely win another term if he runs. If the 13th District becomes open, Democrats would have a reasonable shot of picking up his seat. A majority of voters in the coastal district cast their ballot for President Barack Obama in 2012.

Young, sitting in a wheelchair, said there were a number of factors that would play in his decision about re-election.

“There’s a lot of things that I analyze leading up to, you know — what do I do next with my life?” he said. “I’ve been here 42 years. And I’ve had a good run. Most everything that I’ve touched has worked.”

Full story

Many Potential GOP Senate Candidates Vote Against VAWA

Many Potential GOP Senate Candidates Vote Against VAWA

Brown voted against the Senate-passed VAWA reauthorization (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Several congressmen running for Senate in 2014 or considering a bid voted against final passage of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization on Thursday.

A majority of House Republicans voted against the Senate-backed version of the bill, S 47, which passed with Democratic support. But those “no” votes, easily packaged into  a 30-second TV spot, could pose a political problem for potential GOP Senate candidates down the road in competitive races.

Republican Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia, who is running for the state’s open Senate seat, voted “no.” So did his fellow Peach State Republican Reps. Phil Gingrey, Jack Kingston, Tom Price and Tom Graves — all potential Senate contenders.

Full story

California: ’12 Candidate Hernandez Raising Money Again for Something

John Hernandez, the California Democrat who lost in a competitive Central Valley district by 18 points, may be preparing for another bid for Congress.

Or maybe he’s just trying to retire some leftover debt.

Three local elected officials are hosting a fundraiser for Hernandez on March 14 in Fresno, Calif. According to an invitation to the event — which features a banner of Democratic presidential headshots — $30 “donations” will go toward a 2014 congressional exploratory committee, while suggested “contributions” of $500, $1,000 and $2,500 will go toward retiring the debt from Hernandez’s campaign last year.

Hernandez had $18,000 in cash on hand headed into the final month of the campaign before losing to now-Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif. As of Dec. 11, Hernandez had $40,500 in debt owed to consultants and campaign aides, according to his post-general report filed to the Federal Election Commission.

Democrats view the 21st District as a missed opportunity in 2012 and are likely to target it again next year. For example, here’s one of Hernandez’s television spots that was criticized for its poor production quality:

Full story

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