Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 27, 2015

November 15, 2013

NRCC Chairman Promises Competitive Special Election in Florida

Walden is chairman of the NRCC. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden said the upcoming special election in Florida’s 13th District will be a challenging race for the party, but vowed that Republicans will make it a competitive contest.

Last month, GOP Rep. C.W. Bill Young’s death forced a special election in the Tampa Bay-area seat, making it one of the most competitive House contests in 2014. Operatives from both sides have characterized the March 11 special election as a bellwether contest for the 2014 cycle.

“We all knew that Bill had a special relationship with his constituents in that district, and that district had changed over the years and that when he no longer was serving, that that district would be a competitive district,” Walden, an Oregon Republican, told reporters Friday morning at a Christian Science Monitor Breakfast in Washington, D.C.

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GOP Front-Runner Emerges in Targeted Open House Seat in Maine

Raye is running for Congress in the 2nd District. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former state Senate President Kevin Raye, a Republican, is solidifying his support as the GOP front-runner in Maine’s competitive 2nd District — a strong pick-up opportunity for the GOP in 2014.

An internal poll from Raye’s campaign released last week showed him far ahead of the two other GOP candidates — thanks in large part to his high name recognition in the district. Meanwhile, Maine Office of Policy and Management Director Richard Rosen, a top Republican who had been eyeing a bid, appears poised to stay out of the GOP primary, according to local sources.

“The fact is that Kevin Raye looks like he is the presumptive front-runner of the seat, and that’s a big deal for Republicans up here,” said one Maine GOP operative unaffiliated with any candidates in the race. “It’s been a long time since we’ve held that seat.” Full story

November 14, 2013

Top Consultants Join Primary Campaign Against Democratic Incumbent (Updated)

Updated 10:10 p.m. | Former Marine Seth Moulton’s campaign announced Thursday that two top Democratic consulting firms have joined his effort to unseat six-term Rep. John F. Tierney, D-Mass.

Mark Mellman of The Mellman Group will handle Moulton’s polling, while Dover Strategy Group will be his direct mail vendor, according to a campaign news release. They join Joe Trippi & Associates, which signed on with the campaign in July.

This is the same team of consultants that worked for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, who is also a military veteran.

But it’s notable that two high-profile firms are going to work against an incumbent. It’s unlikely the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee approves, but a committee spokesperson declined to comment. Full story

Ex-NRCC Chairman to Raise Money for Democrat in New York

Reynolds retired from Congress in 2008. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Three former GOP congressmen, including former National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Thomas M. Reynolds, will co-host a fundraiser for Democratic Rep. Brian Higgins next month, according to the Buffalo News.

The New York Republicans — Reynolds, plus former Reps. Jack F. Quinn and Amo Houghton — will co-host the Higgins fundraiser on Dec. 16 at the home of GOP fundraiser Anthony Gioia.

“The message I want to convey is Congressman Higgins has done a darn good job for Buffalo and Western New York, and it doesn’t matter whether he’s a Democrat or Republican, he’s a congressman and, in doing his job as a congressman, he’s done a fine job for our community,” Reynolds said in a Thursday morning phone interview.

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Ex-S.D. Senator: Comeback Bid Based on ‘Idealistic Concept’

If he runs at all, former Sen. Larry Pressler’s, R-S.D., bid for Senate as an independent won’t look like your traditional campaign.

He said his campaign is running on an “idealistic concept” in a Wednesday phone interview with CQ Roll Call. Pressler, 71, referred to a famous line by William F. Buckley about his third-party bid for New York mayor in 1965.

“If I win, I might demand a recount,” Pressler told CQ Roll Call.

Pressler wasn’t even his own first choice to run, but everyone he’s spoken with about it has declined to step forward. Asked if he would be hiring a campaign manager or consulting team, Pressler said no. Full story

November 13, 2013

‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Cuts Ad for Louisiana House Hopeful

Willie Robertson, a reality television show celebrity on the popular “Duck Dynasty” series, will star in a new kind of program starting Thursday: a campaign television spot for Louisiana’s 5th District special election.

In the advertisement, Robertson proclaims his support for GOP businessman Vance McAllister, the underdog in Saturday’s contest.

“Hey this is Willie Robertson, reminding you to get out Saturday, Nov. 16 and vote for my good buddy Vance McAllister. Let’s send somebody from the 5th District who speaks for us to help turn Washington around,” Robertson says in the ad, produced by RedPrint Strategy. Full story

Schweitzer Not Helping Senate Democrats With Montana Primary


Schweitzer is in the middle of a new Senate primary in Montana. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Former Montana Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger’s decision to seek the Democratic Senate nomination invited a primary the party didn’t want to have — and pushed a former player in that race back into the picture: former Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

Schweitzer, who turned down the chance to run for the open seat, spoke with his former lieutenant before Bohlinger’s announcement last week. But Montana Democratic sources said he declined pleas from state party leaders to dissuade Bohlinger from running, with Lt. Gov. John Walsh already in the race.

In a phone interview with CQ Roll Call on Tuesday, Schweitzer said only that he had “conversations” with Bohlinger about “the good, the bad and the ugly” about the Senate and Washington, D.C. He thinks both Democrats would make “very good senators” and could defeat likely GOP nominee Rep. Steve Daines, but deciding the nominee is up to Montana voters.

In his trademark brashness, Schweitzer also claimed some credit for the fight.

“In fact, I guess I’m responsible since I plucked both of them from obscurity,” Schweitzer said. “To ask me to pick favorites is like asking a father to pick his favorite son.” Full story

November 12, 2013

Iowa’s GOP Senate Field Grows Again

Iowa Businessman Mark Jacobs will enter the open-seat Iowa Senate race next week, according to a local news outlet, making him the seventh Republican to join a crowded GOP field.

Jacobs, who has been exploring a bid for the seat since June, will make the announcement Nov. 19 at a series of events across the state.

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A Former Congressman’s Under-the-Radar Comeback Bid

Canseco is running for his former seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco filed his statement of candidacy in December to take back the most competitive House district in the Lone Star State.

But nearly a year later, the Republican’s comeback bid against Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Texas., remains something of a mystery to Texas GOP operatives.

So far, Canseco’s campaign has consisted of low five-figure fundraising reports, a Facebook account that was dormant until August and a handful of campaign emails over the past few months. That same Facebook page advertised his first campaign event on Oct. 13.

The order of events marked one of the softest campaign launches from a former member in recent memory. But in a Tuesday phone interview with CQ Roll Call, Canseco said he was fired up for the race. Full story

Gingrey Vows to Repeal Obamacare in First Term or ‘Go Home’

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Phil Gingrey, one of more than a half-dozen Republicans running for Georgia’s open Senate seat in 2014, vowed to repeal Obamacare in his first term as a senator or “go home.”

The six-term Georgia Republican made the promise in a television advertisement released Tuesday. Gingrey, a physician, is backing the 30-second spot with a six-figure buy to run for 10 days in Georgia’s four largest media markets, according to his spokesman.

“As a doctor, I took an oath to do no harm. And Obamacare is so harmful, I voted to repeal or defund it over 40 times,” Gingrey, wearing his white doctor’s coat, says in the ad. “But our efforts die in the Senate. I’ll help repeal Obamacare in my first term, or go home.”

Full story

New Dem Poll Shows McConnell in Tight Race

McConnell is up for re-election in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

As a new poll showed a tight race in Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell held a news conference in Louisville to press for the repeal of the health care overhaul and tie his opponent to the Senate Democrats who voted for it.

The poll, conducted by Democratic firm Lake Research Partners for’s political action arm, found McConnell and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes tied at 37 percent in a potential general-election matchup. It’s the latest evidence that the Bluegrass State will be among the top races of 2014.

Speaking behind a podium at his campaign headquarters, McConnell said Democrats essentially took a “meat ax” to the country’s health care system with the new law and are now panicked over the repercussions. After referring to the health care website’s troubles, he noted that 15 Democrats up for re-election next year met with the president at the White House last week to discuss the law. Full story

Cochran to Reveal Future Plans by End of the Month

Cochran will announce a decision by the end of the month about his political future. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., will decide whether he will seek re-election by the end of the month, according to a local news station.

Cochran, 73, has publicly waffled about whether he will run for another term. The senator’s low fundraising hauls only fueled speculation the six-term Mississippi Republican is eyeing retirement.

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November 11, 2013

McCotter Claims Aide Was Bribed to ‘Sabotage’ His Career

Former Rep. Thad McCotter, the Michigan Republican who resigned last year after aides submitted forged nominating petitions, now alleges one aide was bribed to sabotage the congressman’s political career.

In a complaint filed with a local U.S. bankruptcy court, McCotter alleges his former aide, Don Yowchuang, was “motivated by the promise of financial gain” when he submitted nominating petitions for the then-congressman’s re-election with duplicate signatures, according to The Detroit News.

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Conservative Groups Divided in Nebraska Senate Race

Osborn got an endorsement today. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a display of the unpredictability of the race, conservative groups are falling on opposite sides of the Republican Senate primary in Nebraska.

FreedomWorks, a tea-party-affiliated group that has backed candidates like Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced Monday that it has endorsed former state Treasurer Shane Osborn. Full story

McKeon Challenger Sees Advantages in Open-Seat Race (Video)

The candidate: Podiatrist Lee Rogers, a Democrat.
The member: Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, a Republican.
The district:
 California’s 25th District, which McKeon has held since 1992.
The candidate’s team:
Bill Wachob of The Campaign Group (general consultant and media), Eric Hogensen of HSG Campaigns (direct mail), Jonathan Brown of Global Strategy Group (polling), Adam Nashban (fundraising and strategy).

Podiatrist Lee Rogers, a Democrat, views an open-seat race as advantageous in his second attempt for Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon’s 25th District in California.

“There will be more attention on the district if it’s an open seat,” Rogers said in an Oct. 11 interview with CQ Roll Call. “This is one that already shows [McKeon] to be vulnerable. I think more attention is probably good for the challenger.”

Insiders have speculated this could be the top Republican’s last term in Congress, although his aide said in April he has no plans to retire. President Barack Obama lost the district by a slim margin in 2012, which makes Democrats optimistic they could compete there if McKeon leaves.

Full story

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