Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 6, 2015

September 24, 2013

Byrne, Young Advance to Runoff in Alabama Special Election | #AL01

Former state Sen. Bradley Byrne and businessman Dean Young advanced to a runoff in Alabama’s 1st District on Tuesday night, emerging from a crowded GOP special-election primary.

Byrne — who lost a GOP primary for governor in Alabama in 2010 — received 33 percent, while Young received 25 percent, with 61 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

Both will face off in a Nov. 5 GOP runoff election, which is expected to pick the district’s next member of Congress in this conservative House district. Full story

Montana House Hopeful Hits Capitol Hill | #MTAL

Sonju met with Walden, right, about his House race in Montana. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Montana state Sen. Jon Sonju was on Capitol Hill last week meeting with GOP-aligned groups ahead of a potential House bid in 2014.

Sonju, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor last year, spent much of Thursday at the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is preparing for a potential Senate bid by freshman GOP Rep. Steve Daines.

If Daines runs for Senate — very likely at this point — Republicans expect a crowded field of Republicans for his at-large House seat in the Big Sky State. Along with Sonju, the NRCC has also been in contact with former state Sen. Corey Stapleton, state Sen. Matt Rosendale and former state Sen. Ryan Zinke. Full story

FreedomWorks Backs House Aide Over Ex-Congressman | #CA07

FreedomWorks PAC has endorsed former Capitol Hill aide Igor Birman over former Rep. Doug Ose in the crowded GOP primary for California’s 7th District.

“The constituents of California deserve better than a rank and file follower or a recycled politician searching for another turn in the spotlight,” FreedomWorks PAC President Matt Kibbe said in a release. “Igor is a policy expert who understands exactly what needs to be done to get our country back on track and he has the spine to stand up and make sure it happens.”

The super PAC typically supports conservative candidates aligned with the tea party. Birman, who most recently served as chief of staff to Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., is running in a GOP primary against autism activist Elizabeth Emken and Ose. The former congressman represented a large portion of the 7th District from 1999 to 2005. Full story

Poll: Booker Up 12 in New Jersey Senate Special | #NJSEN

In its first survey of likely voters, a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday found Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s lead in next month’s New Jersey Senate special election down to 12 points.

Booker, favored to win the Oct. 16 special in this Democratic-leaning state, led 53 percent to 41 percent over Republican Steve Lonegan, with 5 percent undecided.

Quinnipiac and other polling firms had Booker ahead by leads at least twice as large in previous surveys. It’s also smaller than President Barack Obama’s 17-point winning margin in the state last year. Full story

Begich Challenger Hopes to Carry On Ted Stevens Legacy (Video)

The candidate: Republican Mead Treadwell, lieutenant governor of Alaska
The member: Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, who is up for his first re-election
The state: In 2008, Begich became the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Alaska since 1974. Four years later, Barack Obama became the first Democratic presidential nominee to break the 40 percent mark there in four decades.
The candidate’s team: Eddie Mahe and Ladonna Lee (general consultants), Dave Sackett of the Tarrance Group (polling),
Burke Wood (media).

Full story

September 23, 2013

Republican Eyes Primary Challenge to NRCC Chairman | #OR02

Updated 6:23 p.m. | Klamath County Commissioner Dennis Linthicum, a Republican, announced last week that he is eyeing a primary challenge to longtime Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The Oregonian has been named a top target of the Club for Growth, which placed the eight-term Republican on a list of GOP members it is seeking to primary in 2014.

A Club for Growth spokesman said the group had spoken with Linthicum over the phone, but has yet to have a formal meeting with him.

“We are watching the race,” Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller said about whether the group is considering endorsing Linthicum in a primary.

Full story

‘Prince of Asphalt’ Braces for Primary Challenge

Shuster faces a primary in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In another era, House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster would have his House district on lockdown. Who would challenge the powerful “prince of asphalt” in his safe GOP district in south-central Pennsylvania?

But by many local accounts, Shuster has the fight of a decade on his hands from retired Coast Guard Capt. Art Halvorson.

Shuster’s biography boasts the textbook trappings of an entrenched incumbent: his chairmanship of a committee once known for pork projects, the scion of a local political legend, and a reputation for bringing federal funds to the district. The congressman’s father, 14-term Rep. Bud Shuster, was known for using the same committee gavel to move money into the district — enough so that he picked up the “king of asphalt” title.

But his son reigns in a different political era. In a sign of the times, all of Shuster’s bona fides did nothing to scare off Halvorson.

“Committee chairmanships are no longer a deterrent in getting a primary, but they are still enormously beneficial to winning a primary,” said Brock McCleary, a Pennsylvania-based GOP pollster. Full story

Ex-Congressman Launches Rematch Bid With Bipartisan Tone | #NH01

Former Rep. Frank Guinta, R-N.H., who lost his seat in 2012 after one term, announced Monday he will seek a rematch with the Democrat who ousted him: Rep. Carol Shea-Porter.

After eyeing a comeback bid for months, Guinta made his decision official in a two-minute YouTube video, saying he is running again to work in a bipartisan way to reform government.

“As mayor of Manchester, I worked with Democrats and Republicans to improve the city,” Guinta says in the video. “Together we cut spending, lowered taxes and improved services. That’s the New Hampshire common sense we need in Washington.”

Full story

Lindsey Graham Challenger Dismisses Financial Disadvantage (Video)

The candidate: Republican Lee Bright, a South Carolina state senator
The member: Bright is challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham in the Republican primary.
The state: This is one of two Senate races in South Carolina next year. Appointed Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican, is running unopposed in the special election to fill out the remaining term of Jim DeMint. Both races are rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
The candidate’s team: Chris Sullivan (general consultant)

Full story

Rangel Gets Fundraising Help From His Committee Friends

Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., has no obvious electoral challenger, but some of his House Democratic colleagues are busy helping him bulk up his campaign bank account for 2014.

Rangel, 83, has long been the target of retirement rumors and recently confirmed he’s searching for a successor. This year, Rangel reported a lousy first quarter but rebounded in the next three months by raising almost $200,000.

Eight members of the House Ways and Means Committee are set to attend a fundraiser in his honor in early October, according to an invitation obtained by CQ Roll Call. Rangel’s cocktail party fundraiser is scheduled just after the third quarter’s Sept. 30 fundraising deadline.

“I am so honored that my dear friend Congressman Sandy Levin and many of my colleagues from the Ways & Means committee are hosting a fundraiser to support me,” Rangel wrote in an email to supporters. Levin is the ranking member of the committee.

Here is the invite:



Full story

Top North Carolina Republican Declines Hagan Challenge | #NCSEN

Hagan will seek re-election in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

North Carolina Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger announced on Monday that he will not challenge Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in 2014, relieving the GOP of a brutal primary between two of the state’s top lawmakers.

Berger had toyed with entering the crowded GOP cast of candidates — including state Speaker Thom Tillis — looking to unseat Hagan for several months.

“It’s just not the right time for me,” Berger said, according to local North Carolina radio station WRAL. “That has a lot to do with the situation at the state level. There’s a lot of things we’ve started that I want to see finished.”

Full story

Sean Eldridge Launches House Bid in New York | #NY19

Venture capitalist Sean Eldridge officially rolled out his bid to unseat Rep. Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., in the 19th District on Monday.

The launch included a web video that sought to underscore three points about Eldridge: an association with the district, a humble background and the economic contributions of his company, Hudson River Ventures, to the region. Full story

September 20, 2013

House Democrats Outraise GOP in August

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised about $800,000 more than the National Republican Congressional Committee in August. The House Democratic campaign arm will also report a cash-on-hand advantage in its monthly Federal Election Commission filing, according to a DCCC aide.

House Democrats reported $4.6 million raised last month and $16.1 million in the bank, while House Republicans raised $3.8 million and ended the month with $12.7 million in cash on hand.

Both committees previously eliminated their outstanding debt from the 2012 cycle.

Friday was the deadline for the House campaign committees to report their monthly fundraising hauls.

Grassley Planning to Run Again in 2016

Grassley is planning to run for re-election in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Sen. Charles E. Grassley said in a local television interview that he intends to seek a seventh Senate term in 2016.

“I am making plans to run for re-election,” the Republican told “Iowa Press,” a local public affairs show, per The Des Moines Register.

“I’m making plans, but it’s not taking much of my time. I’m concentrating on doing my job for Iowans, on being there when we’re in session, doing my oversight, doing my legislation, doing my town meetings in the 99 counties every year,”said Grassley, who turned 80 this week.

Although Grassley regularly wins re-election by 2-to-1 margins, Iowa is a perennial battleground state.

And before he can run for re-election, Iowans will go to the polls in 2014 to elect a successor to retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. That race is rated Lean Democrat by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Iowa Senate Hopeful Prepares for All Scenarios (Video) | #IASEN

The candidate: Republican David Young, former chief of staff to Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa
The member: Young is running against five other Republicans in a GOP primary to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.
The state: This is the first open Senate seat in the Hawkeye State since 1974, and it has drawn a host of interest from Republican candidates hoping to flip the seat into the GOP category. On the Democratic side, Rep. Bruce Braley is the likely nominee as the only candidate thus far running in the Democratic primary.
The candidate’s team: The Tarrance Group (polling), Smart Media Group (media), Heather Swift (communications), Zach Lahn (campaign manager).

Full story

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