Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 16, 2014

October 9, 2012

Missouri: NRSC Blasts Claire McCaskill Without Mentioning Todd Akin

Missouri: NRSC Blasts Claire McCaskill Without Mentioning Todd Akin

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 8:38 p.m. | The National Republican Senatorial Committee criticized Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) today after a report found companies connected to her family received almost $40 million from the federal government.

NRSC Executive Director Rob Jesmer weighed in with the first lengthy criticism of McCaskill from the national party structure since NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) effectively called the race a bad investment in an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal.

“Sen. McCaskill should apologize to the people of Missouri who sent her to Washington to rein in the size of the federal government, not to max out the government credit card and then get richer off of it,” Jesmer said. “This is just the latest in a long line of broken promises to Missourians and hypocritical conduct in Washington by Claire McCaskill.”Missouri: NRSC Blasts Claire McCaskill Without Mentioning Todd Akin

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Rand Paul to Expand Foreign Aid Push Into Ohio; Lindsey Graham Defends Joe Manchin

Criticism from within his own party will be no deterrent in Sen. Rand Paul’s advertising campaign against Democrats over foreign aid spending.

In a brief interview today, the Kentucky Republican said his political action committee, RANDPAC, will announce plans Wednesday to hit the airwaves in Ohio against Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Paul said he will not have a specific “litmus test” in deciding which lawmakers to oppose, but they will be in races where the Republican challenger has expressed support for curbing foreign aid, as is the case with GOP nominee Josh Mandel in the Buckeye State.

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Mitt Romney’s Polling Surge Continues

Mitt Romney’s Polling Surge Continues

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigned last month in Virginia. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A cascade of poll numbers confirms Mitt Romney’s big bounce after Wednesday’s debate with President Barack Obama, putting him ahead in several national and state polls and closing the gaps in swing states where he had trailed.

However, there are signs that Friday’s surprising September jobs report may help Obama stanch the bleeding.

Gallup, which unveiled its seven-day likely voter tracker for the first time today, showed Romney with a 49 percent to 47 percent advantage, while Obama led 49 percent to 46 percent among registered voters. This and other recently released polls confirmed an enthusiasm gap that favors the GOP. Gallup did have one bright spot for Obama: Its three-day job approval for the president hit a recent high of 53 percent among “all adults,” possibly aided by Friday’s unexpectedly low 7.8 percent unemployment rate.

Still, polling generally continues to show a strong bounce for Romney, the Republican presidential nominee — most pronounced in Monday’s Pew poll that showed the former Massachusetts governor swinging to a 4-point lead from an 8-point deficit after the debate. Today, Romney led Obama nationally in the RealClearPolitics.com average for the first time in the 2012 campaign.

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Hawaii: Linda Lingle Invokes Elizabeth Edwards During Senate Debate

Hawaii: Linda Lingle Invokes Elizabeth Edwards During Senate Debate

Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle (above) accused Rep. Mazie Hirono of supporting John Edwards for president in 2008. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In their first televised debate Monday night, Hawaii Senate candidates former Gov. Linda Lingle (R) and Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) attacked each other for supporting failed presidential candidates of the past.

Hirono asked Lingle if she regretted statements she made while stumping for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) during the 2008 general election against President Barack Obama, a native son of Hawaii. Lingle responded by suggesting that Hirono and Democratic Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye supported others in the 2008 primary process.

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Daily Ad Track

Among the latest ads, one we were expecting has hit the air — just not where we thought it would. And two candidates’ ads feature relatives making the case for their campaigns — much to the candidates’ faux chagrin.

Nevada 3

We expected a version of the following ad to surface in the Missouri Senate race — a rape victim criticizing a Republican candidate’s policies. But in this case, it is state Assembly Speaker John Oceguera’s (D) new ad against Rep. Joe Heck (R). As the GOP is beginning to show more overt support for Akin, it is a reminder of how much his “legitimate rape” comment has put these sorts of issues in the forefront of races other than his own.

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Parties Prepare to Place Debt Bets on Victory

House Democrats are confident they can put a dent in the Republican majority and perhaps flip the chamber in November.

But are they willing to bet the House on it?

In the month before Election Day, the Congressional campaign committees are set to spend millions of dollars each week on targeted races. And if past is precedent, they will exhaust more resources than they will raise before Nov. 6.

It’s a gamble: The resulting debt could mean winning more seats but also put a committee eight figures in the red for the next cycle.

“It’s always a tough decision to borrow money, but you have to weigh that decision against your opportunities and whether you’re going to have those opportunities again,” said Brian Smoot, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s political director in 2008. Full story

New Mexico: Internal Poll Shows Martin Heinrich Widening Lead

New Mexico: Internal Poll Shows Martin Heinrich Widening Lead

New poll numbers show Rep. Martin Heinrich leading former Rep. Heather Wilson by at least 12 points. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new poll conducted for Rep. Martin Heinrich showed the Democrat’s lead over former Rep. Heather Wilson (R) has widened to at least 12 points in their battle for New Mexico’s open Senate seat.

The latest figures show Heinrich leading Wilson 55 percent to 42 percent in a two-way contest. The poll also accounted for Independent American Party candidate Jon Barrie. In a three-way contest, it showed Heinrich leading Wilson 51 percent to 39 percent, with Barrie receiving 8 percent of the vote.

The poll was conducted Oct. 4-7 by GBA Strategies. It included 600 likely voters, reached on landlines and cellphones, whose party affiliations reflected the likely electorate in New Mexico. There was a 4-point margin of error.

Roll Call now rates New Mexico’s open-seat Senate race as Likely Democratic.

Missouri: Todd Akin Questioned About Hypothetical Rape of His Own Daughter

Missouri: Todd Akin Questioned About Hypothetical Rape of His Own Daughter

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Todd Akin (R) continues to be dogged by his views on abortion rights in his challenge of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), a problem that continued Monday when he was asked what he would do if his daughter was impregnated in the course of being raped.

In a Monday meeting with the editorial board of the Springfield News-Leader, Akin was asked about his position on the “morning-after” pill if his own daughter became pregnant as a result of a rape. The question was reminiscent of when Bernard Shaw asked the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis if he would support the death penalty for the rape and murder of his own wife.

“Look, I’ve answered this question repeatedly,” Akin told the newspaper. “I’m not going to go plowing over ground that I’ve already done for a number of weeks. I’ve been all over the different answers to that question.”

That question came after McCaskill’s campaign launched a statewide TV ad over the weekend about Akin’s position on emergency contraception.

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Rand Paul Launches Ad Blitz Against Foreign Aid

Rand Paul Launches Ad Blitz Against Foreign Aid

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:36 pm | Sen. Rand Paul is taking his quest to cut off U.S. foreign aid to Libya, Egypt and Pakistan to the voters.

The Kentucky Republican’s political action committee, RANDPAC, criticizes Democratic Sens. Bill Nelson (Fla.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) for opposing his efforts to block U.S. aid to the three countries until certain conditions are met. Both Democrats are favored to defeat their Republican challengers Nov. 6.

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Indiana: New GOP Poll Gives Richard Mourdock 3-Point Lead

A new Republican poll showed the party’s Senate nominee in Indiana, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, with a 3-point lead in the race.

Mourdock had 45 percent, while Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) took 42 percent in the survey paid for by the GOP candidate’s campaign. Roll Call obtained a copy of the poll’s accompanying memo.

Just two weeks ago, a bipartisan poll from Howey Politics Indiana gave Donnelly a 2-point edge in the race. But in both polls, the candidates are within the margin of error.

The surveys underscore just how competitive the Senate race has become. Outside groups have bombarded the Hoosier State’s airwaves since early September. Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.

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October 8, 2012

Pennsylvania: GOP Survey Sees Tight Race in 12th

Pennsylvania: GOP Survey Sees Tight Race in 12th

Republican Congressional candidate Keith Rothfus is leading in a new survey. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The race for Pennsylvania’s 12th district continues to be one of the most competitive in the country, according to new polling data from a GOP super PAC.

The new survey shows attorney Keith Rothfus (R) leading Rep. Mark Critz (D) by a mere couple of points, 42 percent to 40 percent. Sixteen percent reported they were undecided about the race in the poll from YG Action Fund. The margin of error was 4.9 points.

Partisan polls from both sides have shown a tight race here for months. It’s part of the reason the 12th district has earned a reputation for being one of the most competitive House races on the map this cycle. Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.

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Democrats Shift Money in House Races as Map Evolves

Updated 8:30 p.m. | The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure arm is shifting TV buys in a series of races, as the House battleground map continues to evolve.

The DCCC has cut ad buys Oct. 23-29 in four districts where the Democratic nominee is seen as having a comfortable lead, according to a party source with knowledge of the buys:

  • Arizona’s 2nd district, where Rep. Ron Barber (D) faces Republican Martha McSally
  • Florida’s new 9th district, where former Rep. Alan Grayson (D) faces Republican Todd Long
  • Florida’s 26th district, where embattled Rep. David Rivera (R), reportedly under federal investigation, faces Democrat Joe Garcia
  • New Mexico’s open 1st district, where Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham faces Republican Janice Arnold-Jones Full story

Bill Clinton to Hit Stump for House, Senate Democrats

Bill Clinton to Hit Stump for House, Senate Democrats

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama isn’t the only Democrat running this year that’s benefiting from appearances by Bill Clinton.

For the past month, since his well-received speech at the Democratic National Convention, the former president has hit the campaign trail for Obama. He has said his top goal is returning Obama to the White House, but he’s also finding time in the final push before Election Day for some downballot Democrats who also find themselves in close races and could use the boost Clinton can provide. Full story

Daily Ad Track

Thanks to a slew of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and House Majority PAC ads, Ad Track has been fairly Democratic-heavy. But today, the National Republican Congressional Committee returned the favor with a burst of new spots.

Iowa’s 2nd

Add Rep. Dave Loebsack (D) to the category of victims of the idiot doppelganger.

A common theme over the last month or so has been to illustrate a criticism of one’s opponent with an actor portraying the candidate in an unflattering light. In a new NRCC ad, he is portrayed as sleeping on the job. Loebsack faces a challenge from Republican attorney John Archer.

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In attorney Ann McLane Kuster’s (D) case, it was running around maniacally. With Rep. Dan Benishek (R), it was dancing disruptively. And for Rep. Jon Runyan (R), it was tackling elderly people.

New Hampshire’s 2nd/Minnesota’s 8th

And a Republican operative explained a DCCC ad in New Hampshire’s 2nd district that was initially puzzling. That DCCC spot sought to tie Rep. Charles Bass (R) to various prominent Republicans. But one face in the parade of conservative notables was freshman Rep. Chip Cravaack (R). It is hard to believe that many New Hampshire voters would know who Cravaack is, let alone have a visceral distaste for him.

So why Cravaack? Like Bass, Cravaack is vulnerable, and the DCCC has hammered Cravaack over the last year over the fact that his wife and children relocated to New Hampshire.

Former Rep. Rick Nolan (D) is challenging Cravaack in Minnesota’s 8th, while Kuster is running against Bass. Roll Call rates both races as Tossup.

Illinois’ 8th 

Forget vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan and his budget, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) or President Barack Obama. The NRCC has a new spot that ties veteran Tammy Duckworth (D) to one of the lowest figures in American politics — incarcerated former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Duckworth is challenging Rep. Joe Walsh (R).

Utah’s 4th 

Another new NRCC ad does something rarely seen from Republicans — it rails on Rep. Jim Matheson (D) for at one time supporting the privatization of Social Security. Former President George W. Bush unsuccessfully pushed that policy in his second term. Republican Mia Love is challenging Matheson for this seat.

Mitt Romney on Obama Foreign Policy: Hope Is Not a Strategy

Mitt Romney on Obama Foreign Policy: Hope Is Not a Strategy

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigns recently at the American Legion Post 176 in Springfield, Va. Romney criticized proposed defense cuts and called for better employment options for veterans. (Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Mitt Romney indicted President Barack Obama’s foreign policy today in a speech delivered at the Virginia Military Institute.

The Republican presidential nominee repeatedly described aspects of Obama’s foreign policy as “failed.” But Romney’s critique was far less bellicose than his previous forays into foreign policy and was delivered in a statesman-like tone and with a formal, presidential backdrop on VMI’s Lexington, Va., campus as opposed to a campaign atmosphere.

“It is our responsibility and the responsibility of the president to use America’s greatest power to shape history, not to lead from behind, leaving our destiny at the mercy of events,” Romney said. “Unfortunately, that’s exactly where we find ourselves in the Middle East under President Obama.”

“I know the president hopes for a safer, freer and more prosperous Middle East, allied with us,” Romney also said. “I share this hope. But hope is not a strategy.”

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