Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 9, 2016

January 16, 2014

Shaheen Reports $1.1 Million Raised Last Quarter

Shaheen will seek re-election in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., raised $1.1 million in the final quarter of 2013 and will report $3.4 million in the bank to kick off her re-election year.

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January 15, 2014

Republicans Sound Alarm for Outside Groups in Florida Special

Fewer than two hours after lobbyist David Jolly won the GOP nomination in Florida’s 13th District, word leaked that his campaign had bought a modest $50,000 in airtime for the special election.

But Jolly’s Democratic rival has already done the same — with an advertisement buy six times larger than his.

The lopsided spending illustrates the trajectory of the special election to replace the late Republican Rep. C.W. Bill Young.

The Democratic nominee, former Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, begins the general election with a massive financial advantage, boosted by cash-flush outside groups already behind her bid. Jolly must race to catch up after a competitive primary — and Republicans fear he won’t have much help from national conservative outside groups.

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Democratic Congressman Endorses for Miller Seat

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, a Democrat vying for California’s newly open 11th District, will announce Wednesday the endorsement of California Rep. Jared Huffman, according to a release provided first to CQ Roll Call.

“There are a lot of differences between Washington, D.C., and Sacramento, but one similarity is how partisan bickering, parochialism, and petty transactional politics persistently stand in the way of getting things done,” Huffman said in a forthcoming release. “I’m enthusiastically endorsing Mark DeSaulnier for Congress because having served with him for six years in the State Legislature, I know that he’s the type of leader who can help change the tone and productivity of Congress.

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Republican Announces Bid for Gerlach Seat in Pennsylvania (Updated)

Updated 4:20 p.m. | Ryan Costello, chairman of the Chester County Board of Commissioners, announced Wednesday that he will seek the GOP nomination in Pennsylvania’s newly open 6th District.

Costello is the first Republican to announce a bid for the Keystone State seat, which is being vacated by GOP Rep. Jim Gerlach. The six-term congressman announced his retirement last week.

State Sen. John Rafferty is also eyeing a bid, Republican operatives say.

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Paul Ryan Endorses Candidate in Competitive New York House Race

House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin has endorsed Republican Elise Stefanik’s bid to replace retiring Rep. Bill Owens, D-N.Y., in 2014.

“My friend Elise Stefanik is running for Congress to fight for hardworking families in upstate New York. She’s got the values and the work ethic to get the job done,” Ryan said in a Wednesday release. “She’s part of a new generation of leaders who will bring fresh ideas to Washington, and she has my full support.”

Stefanik, 29, a former aide to President George W. Bush, announced her challenge to Owens in this upstate New York district over the summer. But Owens announced Tuesday that he would retire, paving the way for a much more competitive race and boosting Stefanik’s chances. Full story

Tidal Wave of Va. Democrats Eye Newly Open House Seat (Updated)

Moran is retiring. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:41 p.m. | Maybe Virginia Democrats should start figuring out who isn’t running for retiring Rep. James P. Moran’s seat?

Moran’s 12-term hold on the seat, located in the strong Democratic suburbs of Washington, D.C., has left a long line of ambitious pols poised to unload into the primary for Virginia’s 8th District. Full story

Club for Growth Makes Big Ad Buy to Boost Amash

The Club for Growth has sponsored a major television and radio ad buy to boost Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., who faces a primary challenge in the 3rd District.

In the television ad, released on Wednesday, the club hits Amash’s primary rival, former East Grand Rapids School Trustee Brian Ellis, for various votes he took in that role. The conservative group also seeks to tie Ellis to former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, in the spot.

The dual buy is a six-figure radio, broadcast and cable television ad buy, according to club spokesman Barney Keller.

Here’s the television spot:

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Virginia’s Moran Announces Retirement From Congress (Updated) (Video)

Moran will leave Congress after 2014. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senior appropriator and progressive stalwart James P. Moran will step down at the end of this year, making him the third House Democrat in just three days to announce his retirement.

The 12-term Virginia lawmaker announced his decision in a Wednesday morning statement obtained early by CQ Roll Call.

“After 35 years as a public servant, as Mayor of Alexandria, and for the past 23 as a member of the House of Representatives, it’s time to close this chapter of my life and move on to the next challenge,” Moran said. Full story

California Democrat Could Leave Congress After 1 Term

Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Calif. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Negrete McLeod (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Calif., is keeping her options open to seek a San Bernadino County supervisor seat back home in the Golden State, according to multiple Democratic sources.

“She’s keeping an open mind, that’s all I know,” said Rep. Mark A. Takano, one of Negrete McLeod’s fellow freshman Democrats and allies in the California delegation. “She’s keeping all her options open.”

Negrete McLeod, 72, who defeated former Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., in a bruising race last cycle for California’s 35th District, has more than $900,000 stashed in an account to run for the supervisor seat. The account was created in 2010, and a majority of the funds are reportedly left over from Negrete McLeod’s time as a state senator.

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January 14, 2014

Rodney Davis Raises Strong Sum in Fourth Quarter

Vulnerable Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., raised $280,000 in the fourth quarter, according to figures provided first to CQ Roll Call. Davis starts the election year with $1.05 million in the bank for this top-target race.

His fourth-quarter haul marks his lowest of the year. Last quarter, Davis raised $300,000, and he posted $455,000 between April 1 and June 30.

Operatives anticipate House Republicans will post relatively low fundraising in the fourth quarter, thanks in part to the government shutdown in October. The three-week-long federal government closure prevented many incumbents from dialing for dollars.

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David Jolly Wins GOP Special-Election Primary

Courtesy David Jolly

Lobbyist David Jolly has defeated two GOP rivals to win his party’s nomination in the race to replace the late Rep. C.W. Bill Young in Florida’s 13th District. His victory officially kicks off a high-stakes contest in one of Democrats’ top pickup opportunities of the cycle.

Jolly had 45 percent of the vote, with 96 precincts reporting, when The Associated Press called the race on Tuesday evening. State Rep. Kathleen Peters came in second with 31 percent, and Mark Bircher rounded out the pack with 24 percent.

Jolly will face former state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink in the March 11 general election in this St. Petersburg-based district. This special election marks the first truly competitive special election of the cycle, and many political insiders view it as a bellwether for the cycle.

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GOP Businessman Won’t Run for Competitive Seat in Iowa

The race to fill Latham's seat is expected to be a tight one. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Cable television executive David Oman announced Tuesday that he will not seek the GOP nomination in Iowa’s most competitive House district, nixing the possibility of a tea party vs. business battle in this competitive seat.

Oman, a former aide to Gov. Terry E. Branstad, was eyeing a bid for retiring GOP Rep. Tom Latham’s seat, but he said he decided against a run in order to avoid a potential nominating convention. Full story

McKeon’s Office Denies Retirement Report

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 4:20 p.m. | Armed Services Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon’s office denied a local report that he will not seek re-election in 2014.

“He’s decided that he will make a decision and an announcement soon, but he has yet to decide whether he will seek re-election,” said McKeon spokeswoman Alissa McCurley.

The 11-term Republican’s exit would give Democrats a shot of picking up his seat in 2014. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the 25th district by a 2-point margin in 2012.

Two Republicans have already announced that they would seek McKeon’s seat when or if it became vacant. They include former state Sen. Tony Strickland and state Sen. Steve Knight.

Full story

White House Defends Hagan Skipping Obama N.C. Event

Hagan will stay in Washington, D.C., to vote this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney defended Tuesday the decision of Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., to skip an event in the Tar Heel State, citing the Senate’s potential voting schedule.

The Senate is currently considering an extension of unemployment benefits, and North Carolina ranks 15th in highest jobless rates by state. Senators could also vote on legislation to avert a government shutdown.

“I think Sen. Hagan’s office has addressed that,” Carney said in his daily press briefing. “I think she’s here working on important business. The president looks forward to his visit to North Carolina.” Full story

Bill Owens to Retire From Congress (Updated) (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:31 PM | Rep. Bill Owens, D-N.Y., announced Tuesday that he will retire from Congress after just two full terms.

“After careful thought and consideration, I have decided not to seek re-election for the 21st Congressional District this November,” he wrote in a news release. “It has truly been a privilege to serve, and I plan on continuing to work for a brighter future for the region.”

Owens faced a somewhat competitive race against former Bush White House staffer Elise Stefanik. Republicans view the now-open seat in upstate New York as a potential pickup opportunity in 2014. In 2012, Owens won re-election with just 50 percent.

The retirement instigated a Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call ratings change. The race, previously Democrat Favored, is now a Tossup. Last cycle, President Barack Obama carried the 21st District with 52 percent.

Stefanik is considered a rising star in New York Republican politics. She is 29-years-old and a former Bush White House official. The National Republican Congressional Committee named her as one of their “On the Radar” candidates, which means she passed an assortment of internal organizational and fundraising benchmarks.

Still, The Post-Star, a local newspaper, noted that she faces competition in the primary. The report noted that John James, who played Jeff Colby on “Dynasty” is eyeing the seat.

What will be key to any contender in this race are the local party endorsements.

“It’s a very difficult and or expensive process if you don’t have the support of the local committees,” an Empire State GOP operative said in a Tuesday phone interview with Roll Call.

One potential issue for Republicans is the state’s unique ballots, in which candidates can be listed on more than one party line. The process helped Democrats win the district in both the 2009 special, when Owens first ran, and his subsequent re-election in 2010.

In 2009, the Conservative Party’s candidate led the GOP candidate DeDe Scozzafava in fundraising and polling heading into the final week, causing Scozzafava to withdraw from the special. A year later, Owens again won a tight race as the Republican and Conservative parties’ candidates split the vote.

That same New York Republican operative noted that Stefanik is a speaker at the Conservative Party conference later this month. That source said it was a sign that Stefanik had made inroads with the Conservative Party and the hope is that if she is the nominee, she can reduce the threat of a spoiler candidate emerging from the right.

Owens marks the fifth House Democrat to announce their retirement. To see which other House members are retiring this cycle, check out Roll Call’s Casualty List.

Updated 3:20 PM | A New York Democratic consultant floated three possible contenders: former state Agriculture Commissioner Darrel Aubertine, Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Bernie Bassett and state Assemblywoman Addie Russell.

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