Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 3, 2014

February 4, 2013

South Carolina: State Senator ‘Leaning Toward’ Graham Primary Challenge

South Carolina: State Senator Leaning Toward Graham Primary Challenge

Conservatives expect Graham will face a primary challenge in 2014, but it remains to be seen how competitive the race will be. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

South Carolina Republican state Sen. Lee Bright is “leaning toward” taking on Sen. Lindsey Graham in a primary.

“It’s something I’m considering. I haven’t made a final decision,” Bright told CQ Roll Call in a short telephone interview Monday afternoon, noting he expected to make a choice within the next 60 days. “There’s a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party, and I think Lindsey’s on the opposite side [from me].”

Asked on what issues they disagreed, Bright listed a comprehensive immigration overhaul, “man-made global warming” and the debt ceiling. Bright also griped that Graham “always wants to seem to rush to compromise” with Democrats. Full story

Alaska: Begich Raised $336K in 4th Quarter

Alaska: Begich Raised $336K in 4th Quarter

Begich has almost $1 million in cash on hand for the start of the campaign cycle. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Sen. Mark Begich brought in more than $300,000 in the fourth quarter, giving him almost $1 million in cash on hand to kick off his 2014 re-election campaign cycle.

Begich is one of six Senate Democrats seeking re-election in a state the president lost last year, making him one of his party’s most vulnerable members of the cycle. Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.

Several Republicans are taking serious looks at challenging him in 2014. Potential GOP opponents include Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who said in December that he formed an exploratory committee for the race, and 2010 Senate nominee Joe Miller.

Full story

Massachusetts: Field of Potential Republicans Narrows for Senate Special

Time is short for Massachusetts Republicans, and the list of potential GOP candidates to run in the upcoming Senate special election is increasingly small.

On Monday morning, former Gov. William F. Weld, a Republican, said he would forgo a bid to fill the seat formerly held by Secretary of State John Kerry.

“While I am grateful for the kind expressions of support and encouragement which I have received, I will not be a candidate for United States Senator from Massachusetts in the special election this year,” Weld said in a statement.

Weld joins a growing list of Bay State Republicans who have rejected a Senate campaign. To make matters more daunting for the local GOP, any potential Republican candidate must collect 10,000 voter signatures by the end of the month.

Tagg Romney, the son of 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, won’t run, ABC News reported. Over the weekend, former state Sen. Richard Tisei said he wouldn’t mount a bid either.

Full story

Shop Talk: EMILY’s List Announces 2014 Team

EMILY’s List, the Democratic group that backs female candidates who support abortion rights, announced its senior leadership team for the coming cycle.

Executive Director Amy Dacey and Development Director Amalia Stott will remain in their positions.

  • Jonathan Parker has been named campaigns director. He was previously the group’s political director.
  • Denise Feriozzi will be the new political director. She is a veteran of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and comes to the WOMEN VOTE! division of EMILY’s List.
  • Jess McIntosh has been upped to communications director after two cycles as deputy communications director.
  • Kate Black has also been promoted. She is the new research director. She was the group’s 2012 deputy director for research and communications.

February 3, 2013

Massachusetts: Tisei Not Running for Senate

Massachusetts: Tisei Not Running for Senate

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Massachusetts state Sen. Richard Tisei, a Republican, said he would not be a candidate in the special election for Senate in a statement late Saturday night.

“I believe it’s imperative that the Republican party put forward a strong candidate who can help bring much-needed change to Washington. Unfortunately, the timing is simply not right for me to do so — deeply as I feel about the need to strongly compete in this election,” he said. “It was also my desire to make this decision as quickly as possible so that other potential candidates would be able to consider whether they should run.”

Former Sen. Scott Brown’s decision Friday not to run for the open seat previously held by now-Secretary of State John Kerry left the GOP with few potential candidates who could seriously contest the seat. Full story

Conservatives Blast New Senate Group Designed to Navigate Primaries

The news Sunday that a Republican group was forming to recruit better Senate candidates and counter conservative organizations’ attempts to sway primaries was met with immediate antagonism by at least one conservative group.

The Senate Conservatives Fund, founded by former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, issued a statement calling the project “another example of the Republican establishment’s hostility toward its conservative base” and even criticizing the new group’s name, Conservative Victory Project. Full story

February 2, 2013

Colorado: Andrew Romanoff Announces Bid Against Mike Coffman

Colorado: Andrew Romanoff Announces Bid Against Mike Coffman

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former state Speaker Andrew Romanoff announced Saturday that he is running for Congress in Colorado’s 6th District. The Democrat made the announcement on his website. Full story

February 1, 2013

Massachusetts: Republicans Tisei, Winslow Weighing Possible Senate Bids

Massachusetts: Republicans Tisei, Winslow Weighing Possible Senate Bids

Tisei lost a tough congressional race in 2012. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former state Sen. Richard Tisei and state Rep. Dan Winslow, both Republicans, floated the possibility that they might run for Senate in Massachusetts on the heels of  former Sen. Scott P. Brown’s announcement that he will not run in the special election to succeed Secretary of State John Kerry.

Without Brown, the Republican bench in Massachusetts is thin, with no obvious candidate for a statewide bid.

“I will reflect this weekend about my own family’s needs and whether there is room in the national Republican Party for a member who is both fiscally prudent and socially tolerant,” Winslow, an attorney and former chief counsel to Brown and ex-Gov. Mitt Romney, said in a statement.

Tisei, who lost a hard-fought race against Democratic Rep. John F. Tierney in November, said he was evaluating the race.

“[I]n the coming days, I will be talking with family, friends, and supporters to consider the best role that I can play in helping to bring new, alternative leadership to Washington,” he said in a statement.

Democratic Reps. Stephen F. Lynch and Edward J. Markey are battling for the Democratic nomination. The general election will be held June 25. CQ Roll Call rates the Massachusetts Senate special election as Likely Democratic.

Iowa: King Has Early Primary Edge Over Latham

Iowa: King Has Early Primary Edge Over Latham

A GOP poll showed King ahead in a hypothetical primary against another lawmaker. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Iowa Rep. Steve King would have an early edge over Rep. Tom Latham in a hypothetical Republican Senate primary, according to a new poll from the  GOP firm Harper Polling.

King led Latham in a two-way and multi-candidate GOP primary matchup, one that has the potential to become ideologically driven. However, Latham was the only Republican who led Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley in a hypothetical general election matchup to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. Latham led Braley by 3 points, while King trailed him by 5 points.

None of these members of Congress have said whether they will seek the open Senate seat, but all three are believed to be interested in what could be among the most competitive races in 2014. CQ Roll Call currently rates the race as Leans Democratic. Full story

Texas: Commission OKs Campaign Donation Texting at State Level

The Texas Ethics Commission gave its blessing Thursday to campaign donations via text messaging in state races, according to a website run by the Republican attorney who pushed for the change.

There was no set limit on donations in the commission’s opinion, but phone companies usually are inclined to limit text donations to the $5-$10 range.

The attorney behind the effort, Jerad Najvar, and others say they hope this will help the GOP compete with the Democrats in digital technology.

“Texas is now the third state to approve text donations to statewide political campaigns,” Washington-based GOP digital strategist Peter Pasi said. “I think momentum is building to approve it in more [states] in advance of the 2014 elections. What’s significant is that this request came from a Republican group, thus dispelling the notion that text-to-donate is the exclusive realm of Democrats.”

But leading up to the TEC’s opinion, some progressives in the state were also on board.

Maryland and California have previously implemented text-donation policies.

Massachusetts: Brown Won’t Run for Senate

Massachusetts: Brown Wont Run for Senate

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:40 p.m. | Former Sen. Scott P. Brown, the Massachusetts Republican unseated by Democrat Elizabeth Warren in 2012, announced Friday he will not run in the Senate special election to fill the seat held by Sen. John Kerry.

“Over these past few weeks I have given serious thought about the possibility of running again, as events have created another vacancy requiring another special election. I have received a lot of encouragement from friends and supporters to become a candidate, and my competitive instincts were leading in the same direction,” he said in a statement.

“Even so, I was not at all certain that a third Senate campaign in less than four years, and the prospect of returning to a Congress even more partisan than the one I left, was really the best way for me to continue in public service at this time. And I know it’s not the only way for me to advance the ideals and causes that matter most to me,” he said.

“That is why I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for the United States Senate in the upcoming special election,” Brown concluded.

Kerry’s resignation from the Senate will take effect Friday afternoon and he will soon be sworn in as secretary of State.

Two Democrats are vying for the Senate nomination in the special election: Reps. Edward J. Markey and Stephen F. Lynch. Markey, who has the backing of the Washington, D.C., Democratic establishment, begins the sprint to the April 30 primary as the front-runner.

The Republican bench in the Bay State is thin. Potential contenders include former Gov. Bill Weld and former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey.

Republicans in the state are pessimistic about the race.

“It’s a tough one,” said longtime Bay State Republican strategist Rob Gray. “A special is eminently winnable for Brown, but really doesn’t look as winnable for the crop of potential candidates who come after Brown.”

“With Brown out, the chances of winning the special, go from 60 or 70 percent to well below 20 percent,” he said.

But, Gray added, in the unlikely circumstance that Weld got in the race, Republicans’ chances would increase.

The general election will be held June 25.

Obama Raised Cash Post-Election Day

Obama Raised Cash Post Election Day

(Win McNamee/Getty Images/Pool)

Updated 1:54 p.m. | President Barack Obama’s fundraising operation was still going strong after the most expensive election in history, according to year-end Federal Election Commission reports, the final disclosures for this cycle.

Obama for America collected $5.8 million in the reporting period that covers Nov. 27 through Dec. 31, a Political MoneyLine tally shows, while Obama’s joint fundraising committee with the Democratic National Committee, the Obama Victory Fund 2012, pulled in $1.9 million.

Obama may be the only two-term president to continue fundraising even after his re-election, said Kathy Kiely, managing editor of the Sunlight Foundation’s reporting group. Kiely said she could find no record of previous presidents who maintained their fundraising operations following their second elections.

Full story

January 31, 2013

New Jersey: Geraldo Rivera ‘Truly Contemplating’ Senate Run

Television personality Geraldo Rivera said on his radio program Thursday that he is “truly contemplating” a run as a Republican candidate for Senate in 2014, per The Hill.

Prior to this news, the action had been entirely on the Democratic side. Newark Mayor Cory Booker has created a federal account in preparation for a Senate run — a move that has greatly antagonized Democratic Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, who has not yet said if he is running for re-election.

Another possible Democratic contender is Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. A number of state officials are also being discussed as candidates or are publicly talking about runs, pending Lautenberg’s decision.

Roll Call rates the race as Safe Democratic.

House Majority PAC Announces Top 2014 GOP Incumbent Targets

House Majority PAC Announces Top 2014 GOP Incumbent Targets

Bachmann, left, is being targeted by House Majority PAC. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority PAC, the super PAC formed in the 2012 cycle to support Democratic House candidates, has rolled out its first round of Republican incumbent targets for the 2014 cycle.

They are:

    • Rep. Michele Bachmann – Minnesota’s 6th
    • Rep. Mike Coffman – Colorado’s 6th
    • Rep. Gary G. Miller – California’s 31st
    • Rep. Rodney Davis – Illinois’ 13th
    • Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick – Pennsylvania’s 8th
    • Rep. Michael G. Grimm – New York’s 11th
    • Rep. Joe Heck – Nevada’s 3rd
    • Rep. David Joyce – Ohio’s 14th
    • Rep. John Kline – Minnesota’s 2nd
    •  Rep. Steve Southerland II – Florida’s 2nd

“In 2012, House Majority PAC built a strong record of success, and in 2013 we are ready to hit the ground running to hold these Republicans accountable and communicate with swing voters about their extreme records and backward priorities,” House Majority PAC Executive Director Alixandria Lapp said.

The group spent heavily in the fall of 2012, making major ad buys in markets.

Massachusetts: Lynch Launches Senate Bid

As expected, Rep. Stephen F. Lynch on Thursday launched a bid for Senate, releasing a YouTube video and barnstorming around the state. The official announcement is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at a hall at Ironworkers Local 7 in South Boston, Lynch’s home turf.

The Web video telegraphed some themes voters can expect to to hear from the congressman as he takes on his colleague, Rep. Edward J. Markey, in the Democratic primary for the special election being held to replace resigning Sen. John Kerry, who will be soon be sworn in as the secretary of State.

“Lynch has never forgotten where he came from,” a male narrator with a syrupy voice says of the congressman, a former ironworker. “Stephen Lynch for Senate. He’ll go to Washington to stand up, not to fit in.”

Markey has the backing of the Democratic establishment in Washington, D.C., along with the endorsement of Kerry and others.

Voters will make their choice April 30.

Former Sen. Scott P. Brown, a Republican who lost to now-Sen. Elizabeth Warren in November, has not yet said whether he’ll enter the race.

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