Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 1, 2014

March 12, 2013

Michigan: Granholm, Romney Top Senate Field in New GOP Poll

Michigan: Granholm, Romney Top Senate Field in New GOP Poll

Granholm is mum so far on a Senate bid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Attorney Scott Romney and former Gov. Jennifer Granholm lead their respective party fields in the 2014 Michigan Senate race, according to a new automated survey from Harper Polling, a GOP firm.

Fifty-nine percent of Democrats surveyed said they would back Granholm in a primary, while 13 percent backed Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., 6 percent supported Rep. Dan Kildee, and 23 percent of respondents said they were undecided.

Meanwhile, Romney — the brother of the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee — leads the potential Republican field with 26 percent of those surveyed. Rep. Mike Rogers came in second with 17 percent support, followed by Rep. Justin Amash with 11 percent. Thirty-seven percent said they were unsure of whom they supported.

The Rothenberg Political Report rates the race as “Safe Democratic,” due in part to the state’s recent history of rejecting Republicans statewide, explained Stu Rothenberg in his most recent Roll Call column.

The new numbers come just a couple days after Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., announced his retirement, opening the floodgates of potential candidates interested in his seat.

Here’s a look at the current field of possible contenders:

Democrats: 

  • Debbie Dingell, the politically active wife of longtime Rep. John Dingell, is considering a run, CNN reported on Monday. Dingell did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Tuesday.
  • Granholm had no comment on the Senate race, according to her spokeswoman. About a month ago, Granholm left her Current TV program. She ended her gubernatorial tenure with low approval ratings but more recently had delivered one of the most rousing speeches at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
  • A handful of news reports also mentioned Kildee, a freshman, as potential candidate.
  • On Friday, Peters told Detroit Free Press editorial board that he is “going to seriously consider” running.
  • Former Rep. Mark Schauer has not issued a public statement on the race, but sources continue to suggest the former one-term congressman as a potential candidate. Schauer did not return a request for comment. Full story

Shop Talk: Hagan Hires Preston Elliot as Campaign Manager

Shop Talk: Hagan Hires Preston Elliot as Campaign Manager

Hagan hired a campaign manager for her 2014 re-election bid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., announced Tuesday she has hired Preston Elliott to be her 2014 campaign manager in a race that’s expected to be among Democrats’ toughest this cycle.

An experienced operative, Elliott served as campaign manager for Sen. Jon Tester’s re-election campaign in Montana, one of the most heavily targeted races of the 2012 cycle. He is also a veteran of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s 2010 re-election effort, and he was the deputy political director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

“I am so pleased to have Preston on board as my campaign manager,” Hagan said in a statement. “He has a proven track record of success, and with his help and the help of North Carolinians of all walks of life, I expect to cross the finish line with a victory in November 2014.”

Obstetrician and tea party supporter Greg Brannon is the first Republican challenger to enter the race.

But Republicans say Brannon won’t be the only — or the strongest — contender. They name state House Speaker Thom Tillis, Rep. Renee Ellmers, state Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry as potential candidates.

West Virginia: Mooney Says ‘No Final Decisions’ Made on House Race

Former Maryland GOP Chairman Alex Mooney confirmed to CQ Roll Call on Tuesday that he has moved to West Virginia but cautioned “no final decisions have been made” on a future run for office.

“Now I am working on a book about door to door campaigning and politics, which will take at least a couple months,” Mooney said in an email, chalking up his delayed response to overseas travel.

On Monday, multiple sources said Mooney had conversations this weekend about running for the open 2nd District seat in West Virginia. Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is leaving that seat to run for Senate in 2014.

Full story

March 11, 2013

West Virginia: Ex-Maryland GOP Chairman Alex Mooney Eyes Capito Seat

West Virginia: Ex Maryland GOP Chairman Alex Mooney Eyes Capito Seat

Mooney expressed interest in Capito's (above) seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Maryland GOP Chairman Alex Mooney has moved to West Virginia and is considering a run for the open 2nd District, according to a high-ranking state party official.

West Virginia GOP National Committeeman Kris Warner confirmed to CQ Roll Call that Mooney had his eye is on the seat held by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who is running for Senate in 2014.

“That was something he was considering doing right now,” Warner said, confirming a Friday report in Red Maryland, a conservative blog. “He told me he had purchased property in West Virginia.”

Warner described Friday evening conversations at a party reception in Berkeley Springs, W.Va. The state GOP’s executive committee held a meeting over the weekend in the eastern West Virginia town not far from the Maryland border. Full story

DSCC Attacks House Republicans Eyeing the Senate in ’14

DSCC Attacks House Republicans Eyeing the Senate in 14

Democrats will work to tie Republicans to Ryan's new budget blueprint. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan set to release his new budget on Tuesday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee warned House Republicans eyeing Senate races that it will use their votes for the plan against them in paid media.

On Monday, DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil and Democratic pollster Geoff Garin told reporters that the Wisconsin Republican’s previous budget plan hurt GOP Senate candidates last year. Cecil said that all of the post-election analysis has overlooked that fact in favor of a focus on the GOP’s candidate quality problem, polling inaccuracies and, according to the DSCC, faulty messaging.

“We’ll be launching an online media campaign to educate voters on Facebook and other social media,” Cecil said. “We’ll be launching an email campaign to engage our volunteers and our donors in this fight. And really this is the first in several steps to hold Republicans accountable on the air, on the ground, in the mail and online.”

Full story

Massachusetts: LCV Launches Six-Figure Field Program for Markey

Massachusetts: LCV Launches Six Figure Field Program for Markey

Markey is running for Senate (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The League of Conservation Voters announced on Monday a new, six-figure field campaign to boost Rep. Edward J. Markey’s bid for the Democratic nod in the Massachusetts special election for Senate.

Meanwhile, a source tells CQ Roll Call that Markey will begin a television ad campaign on Tuesday, ramping up his election effort seven weeks before primary voters decide between him and Rep. Stephen F. Lynch.

LCV, a well-funded environmental group, said the organization would spend at least $650,000 on the field campaign by the April 30 primary.

The size of Markey’s TV buy was not immediately available.

Markey led Lynch by significant margins in a series of recent polls. Markey has the backing of the LCV, along with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, among others.

Full story

March 8, 2013

Illinois: Durbin Will Run for Re-Election

Illinois: Durbin Will Run for Re Election

Durbin is running for re-election in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin will seek a fourth term, a source close to the Illinois Democrat confirmed.

The Chicago Tribune reported the news Friday afternoon.

Durbin is the second-ranking Senate Democrat. He is actively involved in immigration reform negotiations and recently took the gavel of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

This essentially keeps the seat in the Safe Democratic column. Had he not run, it might have been competitive, although Republicans have a relatively weak bench in the state.

Michigan: Scott Romney Considering Senate Bid

Scott Romney, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s brother, is looking at running for retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin’s seat, according to a Michigan GOP source with first-hand knowledge of his interest.

The Republican is a Harvard-educated corporate attorney at the Detroit-based law firm Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn, LLP. He was not immediately available for comment.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Gary Peters told The Detroit Free Press editorial board that he is “going to seriously consider” running. Peters, who ended 2012 with nearly $500,000 in cash on hand, is considered the Democrats’ top recruit.

It has been a topsy-turvy day in Michigan politics, as candidates have floated their names in and out of contention. Levin announced Thursday that he would not seek a seventh term next year.

Democrats begin the open-seat race with a decided advantage. But serious structural problems plague the Michigan Democratic Party. This race, along with the 2014 gubernatorial campaign, will test newly-elected Chairman Lon Johnson.

Michigan: Anuzis Mulling Senate Bid as More Republicans Opt Out

Michigan: Anuzis Mulling Senate Bid as More Republicans Opt Out

Anuzis said he's been approached to consider running for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:14 p.m. | Twenty-four hours after Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., announced his retirement, we  know more about who is not running to replace him than who is.

Former Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis said he is mulling a run and has been approached about about seeking the seat. “I haven’t had a chance to look at it,” he said in a phone interview.

But while Anuzis is keeping his name in the mix, there are many more Republicans taking their names out of contention, including Rep. Candice S. Miller, who announced Friday that she will not run.

“While I am grateful for the interest people have shown, I will not be a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2014,” the chairwoman of the House Administration Committee said in a statement, according to The Detroit News. “It is my sincere honor to serve the people of Michigan’s 10th District in the United States House of Representatives and in 2014 it is my intention to seek their support for re-election.” Full story

South Carolina: Sanford, Colbert Busch Raise More Than $300,000

The large field of congressional hopefuls in South Carolina’s 1st District filed pre-primary fundraising reports this week — providing the first glimpse into the financial jockeying in the special election to replace Tim Scott, now a Republican senator.

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, the front-runner in the contest, raised $334,000 between Jan. 1 and Feb. 27. He ended the period with $365,000 in the bank. Sanford faces 15 other Republicans, some of whom also posted relatively strong fundraising periods, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

The filings come two weeks ahead of the March 19 primary. No candidate is expected to get more than 50 percent of the vote, setting up an April 2 runoff  — presumably between Sanford and another candidate. Fundraising for the other Republicans in the race was as follows:

  • Teddy Turner, the son of TV mogul Ted Turner, took in $376,000 in receipts during the period, including a $245,000 contribution from himself.
  • State Rep. Chip Limehouse took in $540,000, including a $400,000 personal loan. Full story

March 7, 2013

Michigan: Levin Announces He Will Retire in ’14

Michigan: Levin Announces He Will Retire in 14

Levin announced he won't run again in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 7:37 p.m. | Michigan Democratic Sen. Carl Levin announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of 2014.

The chairman of the Armed Services Committee, first elected in 1978, is the longest-serving senator in Michigan history and will turn 80 before Election Day next year.

In a statement, Levin said the decision not to seek another term was “extremely difficult.”

“I love representing the people of Michigan in the U.S. Senate and fighting for the things that I believe are important to them,” he said. “As Barbara and I struggled with the question of whether I should run again, we focused on our belief that our country is at a crossroads that will determine our economic health and security for decades to come. We decided that I can best serve my state and nation by concentrating in the next two years on the challenging issues before us that I am in a position to help address; in other words, by doing my job without the distraction of campaigning for re-election.”

Full story

Illinois: State Representative Considers Foster Challenge in 11th District

Illinois: State Representative Considers Foster Challenge in 11th District

Foster could face a challenge in 2014 from a Republican state lawmaker. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

National and local Republicans are recruiting state Rep. Darlene Senger to challenge Democratic Rep. Bill Foster — and she has confirmed interest in taking him on in suburban Chicago’s 11th District.

“I’m considering it, but I haven’t announced anything yet,” Senger said in a Thursday phone interview with CQ Roll Call. She added that she is in the exploratory phase of a campaign and fundraising is a top consideration in her viability.

The 11th District won’t be easy for Republicans to pick up next year. In 2012, Foster defeated former GOP Rep. Judy Biggert, by 17 points. Still, Republicans hold out hope they can win the district in part because of the competitive nature of the Chicago suburbs and exurbs.

Full story

California: Ex-Rep. Ose May Challenge Freshman Bera

California: Ex Rep. Ose May Challenge Freshman Bera

Bera, above, could face a 2014 challenge from Ose, a former member of Congress. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Republican Rep. Doug Ose told the Sacramento Bee that he is considering a challenge to freshman Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif.

“It’s very easy to say ‘I’m going to run for Congress,’ but having done it four times now, it’s not a simple task,” Ose told the newspaper. “There’s a lot that goes into it.”

The Sacramento-area 7th District became one of the most competitive in California after an independent redistricting commission redrew the lines in 2011. Bera toppled former GOP Rep. Dan Lungren last year by a little more than 3 points, and is now included in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s incumbent retention program. Full story

RNC ’12 Autopsy Due March 18, Will Address Debates

RNC 12 Autopsy Due March 18, Will Address Debates

Priebus said a postmortem on the 2012 election cycle will be released later this month. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus revealed in a radio interview that the RNC’s internal review of the 2012 elections will be released on March 18.

In a discussion with radio show host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday, Priebus also signaled that the Growth and Opportunity Project would recommend changes to the presidential debate process ahead of the quadrennial GOP primary. Specifically, he said the report will address whether the party will take control of the debates, including which network televises them and which journalists serve as moderators.

“So now we have the right to set the number of the debates, to pick the moderators of the debates, to set the ground rules for what groups and what networks and what stations, what radio networks, whatever it might be,” Priebus said, according to a transcript of the interview posted on Hewitt’s website. “I mean, we just can’t have MSNBC hosting a debate at the Reagan Library only to have their network make the commentary afterwards for three hours about the debate of the Republican Party. I mean, it’s ridiculous.”

Priebus will address reporters at breakfast the National Press Club on the March 18 release date. But he also suggested that such changes would have to be enacted through a vote of committee members at party meeting scheduled for later this year or early 2014.

Full story

Obama Group to Reject Corporate Cash

Under fire from watchdog groups and editorial writers, the pro-Obama advocacy group Organizing for Action has announced that it will no longer accept corporate money and will more fully disclose contributions.

“We have now decided not to accept contributions from corporations, federal lobbyists or foreign donors,” OFA’s national chairman, Jim Messina, wrote in a CNN.com op-ed posted Thursday. While as a tax-exempt social welfare group OFA “faces a lower disclosure threshold than a campaign,” wrote Messina, “we believe in being open and transparent. That’s why every donor who gives $250 or more to this organization will be disclosed on the website with the exact amount they give on a quarterly basis.”

Criticism of the group has been mounting since President Barack Obama’s campaign organizers announced its formation in January. Messina was Obama’s campaign manager, and top bundlers who round up $500,000 or more for the group will reportedly receive invitations to quarterly meetings with the president.

Common Cause President Bob Edgar has called on Obama to shut the group down, and Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer has also said the group should close up shop. Republicans on Capitol Hill have also voiced complaints, and the pro-GOP super PAC American Crossroads last week released a video lampooning OFA as “Organizing for Access.”

In the CNN.com op-ed and in a post on the OFA website, Messina stresses that the group’s mission is to counter the power of special interests, not leverage them.

Full story

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