Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 21, 2014

April 5, 2013

Rand Paul Gets Presidential Profile Treatment From CBN

Rand Paul Gets Presidential Profile Treatment From CBN

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Host David Brody explained at the outset of his Christian Broadcasting Network show that he doesn’t usually spend an entire half-hour on a single subject, but that Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul merited a closer look  — and that’s exactly what Paul got.

“The Special Rand Paul Edition of The Brody File,” as Brody described it, has the look and feel of the kind of profiles that are given to serious presidential candidates — including questions about Paul’s favorite bands, an interview with his wife, Kelly, and b-roll of the couple bird-watching near their Kentucky home.

The topics centered on Paul’s religious faith as well as his plans for a possible White House bid in 2016. Paul said he hasn’t yet decided whether to run for president, but he reaffirmed his desire to still be in politics three years from now.

“I think I’m in a position to be part of the solution to help the country grow again and to find its way. I do want to be part of that,” Paul said. “We don’t have an answer yet on whether that means I’ll do it still as a senator for Kentucky or whether it might be running for president. I haven’t sorted that out yet.” Full story

New Hampshire: Local Republicans Skeptical on Scott Brown

New Hampshire: Local Republicans Skeptical on Scott Brown

Brown did not rule out running for Senate in New Hampshire. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:14 p.m. | National Republicans are encouraged by former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown’s interest in the New Hampshire Senate race.

But Granite State Republicans are surprised and, in some cases, privately skeptical about him challenging Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in 2014.

“It was a big surprise to me,” former state GOP Chairman Jack Kimball said. “I saw the article. I read it. It was the last thing on my mind with Scott Brown being a Massachusetts resident.”

“He wasn’t even on the radar,” Kimball added, echoing comments from multiple conversations with Granite State GOP strategists.

(See also in Roll Call: New Hampshire: Democrats Use Brown to Fundraise)

Full story

New Hampshire: Democrats Use Brown to Fundraise

New Hampshire: Democrats Use Brown to Fundraise

Brown did not rule out a comeback bid in New Hampshire. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Regardless of whether former Sen. Scott P. Brown, R-Mass., actually runs for Senate in New Hampshire, local Democrats are capitalizing on his recent stated interest in the race.

Both Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and the New Hampshire Democratic Party are using the prospect of a Brown bid for Senate in the Granite State to try to fundraise.

“This is serious: Brown’s campaign spent $40 million in 2012,” a Shaheen email stated. “Most of that went to lie-filled attack ads. He’ll try the same thing against Jeanne — and with Wall Street bankers Karl Rove and the Tea Party Super PACs behind him, he could raise even more.” Full story

Kentucky: Bourbon and a Ballot?

When many Kentucky voters head to the polls for next year’s Senate primary and general elections, they’ll for the first time be able to make their next stop a local watering hole or liquor store.

On Thursday, Democratic Gov. Steven L. Beshear signed a package of liquor law changes that included a repeal of the antebellum-era prohibition of alcohol sales while polling places are open on Election Day in Kentucky.

“My administration, working cooperatively with the General Assembly, is taking an important step toward improving the business structure of alcohol sales and licensing in Kentucky. Not since the days of Prohibition has Kentucky undertaken such a comprehensive rewriting and modernization of our laws governing alcohol,” Beshear said in a statement.

Full story

April 4, 2013

Pennsylvania: Fitzpatrick Gets Democratic Challenger

Democrat Kevin Strouse, a former Army Ranger, announced on Thursday that he will challenge GOP Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania’s 8th District.

The district, which almost evenly split its vote in the 2012 presidential contest, is one of the Democrats’ best pickup opportunities. Democrats need to net 17 seats in 2014 to win back the House, and they’ll likely need districts like this one in suburban Philadelphia to get there.

Full story

Louisiana: Fleming Opts Out of Senate Race

Louisiana: Fleming Opts Out of Senate Race

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GOP Rep. John Fleming announced  Thursday he would not join the Louisiana Senate race, saying his entrance into the contest could thwart a GOP pickup of the Democratic-held seat.

Fleming said he decided to opt out of the race after fellow Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy announced Wednesday that he would be challenging vulnerable Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu.

“For me to enter the race now would risk a contest between two experienced Republican Congressmen, potentially offering Senator Landrieu a path back to Washington,” Fleming said in a statement. “I can’t let that happen.”

Fleming’s announcement is a shift from his tune earlier in the week, when he said “I haven’t ruled anything out.” Full story

NRSC to GOP Consultants: Got Any Better Ideas?

Want a lucrative consulting contract from the National Republican Senatorial Committee or one of their top candidates this cycle? First, a few questions.

After tensions between GOP officials and consultants bubbled over in 2012, top NRSC aides are in the process of revamping their relationship with the hired hands who might work with their spending arm and candidates this cycle.

On Tuesday, NRSC Political Director Ward Baker sent the following memo to more than 250 GOP consultants and vendors:

TO: Prospective Vendors

FROM: Ward Baker

DATE: April 2, 2013

RE: NRSC IE Program Revitalization

Victory in 2014

The NRSC is full steam ahead prepping and planning for victory in 2014 to take back the majority in the U.S. Senate. Part of that preparation is revitalizing and reimagining the IE program to ensure wins in crucial battleground states. We believe this can be accomplished through new ideas and innovative strategies from not only the new leadership at the NRSC, but from you as well.

Full story

DCCC Raised $3.2 Million at Obama Fundraiser

DCCC Raised $3.2 Million at Obama Fundraiser

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $3.25 million Wednesday evening at fundraising events President Barack Obama headlined in San Francisco.

It was the first of eight DCCC fundraisers the president has committed to in the 2014 cycle. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., attended the events — cocktails at one home and then dinner at another — and Obama stressed the importance of returning her to the House speaker position.

“I am here because there are very few people in public office who I am more fond of and respectful than the person who just introduced me, Nancy Pelosi,” Obama said in his remarks.  “She is thoughtful, she’s visionary, she’s as tough as nails. She is practical. She never lets ideology cloud her judgment.”

DCCC Chairman Steve Israel of New York was also in attendance, along with California Democratic Reps. Michael M. Honda, Jared Huffman and Eric Swalwell.

The president noted that Israel “is doing an often thankless, extraordinarily difficult job.” At the end of February, the DCCC had $7.6 million in the bank compared to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s $4.4 million cash on hand.

Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.

Shop Talk: Carville Joins Draft-Hillary Super PAC

Shop Talk: Carville Joins Draft Hillary Super PAC

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 9:34 a.m. | The Ready for Hillary super PAC will announce on Thursday that Democratic strategist James Carville has joined its efforts, CQ Roll Call has confirmed.

Carville is the highest-profile Clinton loyalist to join the group, which aims to build a campaign infrastructure for former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton if she decides to run for president in 2016.

(See Shop Talk’s rundown of other Ready for Hillary hires here and here.)

Ready for Hillary is not directly affiliated with Clinton. Carville worked on President Bill Clinton’s campaigns for the White House.

The Washington Post first reported the Carville news early Thursday morning.

Update 9:34 a.m. 

Carville clarified his role to Politico. He said that he would not be “directly affiliated” with the group but is enthusiastic to help any organization that supports Clinton. Carville frequently lets groups like the campaign committees use his name in fundraising emails. A source at the PAC had previously confirmed the entire content of the Washington Post report to CQ Roll Call.

Massachusetts: Clark Hauls In $260,000 for 5th District Race

Democratic state Sen. Katherine Clark raised $261,000 in her first quarter as a candidate for the 5th District, according to an email she planned to send supporters Thursday.

Clark is part of an evolving field ready to run for the heavily Democratic 5th District if its current occupant, Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey, wins the upcoming special election for Senate.

Public polls show Markey leads his Democratic and Republican opponents in the race to succeed now-Secretary of State John Kerry in the Senate. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch is also running for the Democratic nomination.

(See also on Roll Call: “Markey Leads in Another Special Election Poll”) Full story

April 3, 2013

West Virginia: Capito Raises $915,000 for Senate Bid

West Virginia: Capito Raises $915,000 for Senate Bid

Capito is running for Senate in West Virginia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., has kicked off her Senate campaign with strong fundraising, bringing in $915,000 in her first full quarter as a statewide candidate.

Capito will report having $2.35 million in cash on hand, according to her consultant John Brabender.

Capito is running to replace Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who will retire in 2014. The Mountain State’s open-seat race  is expected to be one of this cycle’s most targeted. Senate Republicans must net six seats to win the majority in 2014.

Full story

New Mexico: Democrat Considering Challenge to Pearce

New Mexico: Democrat Considering Challenge to Pearce

Pearce might get a challenge this cycle from a former state representative. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats already hold four of New Mexico’s five federal offices, but the party hopes to make a clean sweep by 2014.

Former state Rep. Joe Campos is considering a challenge to Rep. Steve Pearce, the only Republican in the state’s congressional delegation, who is two terms into his second stint in Congress after losing a Senate bid in 2008.

“We’re taking a look at it, but we haven’t confirmed anything yet,” Campos said in a phone interview. “We’re just looking at it, and I would say by the end of the month we will tie everything up and see if it’s doable.” Full story

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 11:48 a.m.

Louisiana: Cassidy Blasts Obama, Landrieu as He Officially Enters Senate Race

Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy made his bid for Louisiana’s Senate seat official on Wednesday morning, releasing a video announcement that serves as both a primer on Cassidy’s personal story as well as an attack on his opponent, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La.

Seated alongside his wife Laura, a breast cancer surgeon, Cassidy seeks to defend his conservative record in the announcement spot, and highlight Landrieu’s support of President Barack Obama’s policies, including Obama’s 2009 health care overhaul, which remains deeply unpopular in the state.

“As a family, we have decided that I will run for the United States Senate in the election held November 2014 and it’s going to be a tough race,” Cassidy says in the announcement video. “I’m running against Senator Mary Landrieu who’s been there for 18 years and against the most powerful man in the world, Barack Obama.” Full story

April 2, 2013

South Carolina: Sanford Wins GOP Nomination for Special

South Carolina: Sanford Wins GOP Nomination for Special

Sanford is running for Congress in the 1st District. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Gov. Mark Sanford won the GOP nomination in the special election, setting up a general election fight with Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

Sanford defeated attorney Curtis Bostic, 55 percent to 45 percent, in the GOP runoff, with 67 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

The 1st District is a strong Republican seat, but Sanford is not assured a general election win.

It is unclear how difficult the path ahead will be for Sanford in the general election. Some South Carolina Republicans insist that this is a solidly conservative district and that the idea of a Democratic winner is unfathomable.

But Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, has put together a professional campaign. She even released an internal poll Monday that showed she had a narrow lead over Sanford. (Our own Stuart Rothenberg offered a skeptical analysis.)

There is a special election because the district’s former congressman, Republican Tim Scott, was appointed to the Senate earlier this year. Gov. Nikki Haley picked Scott for the seat after then-Sen. Jim DeMint resigned from the Senate.

Michigan: Ronna Romney McDaniel Will Not Run for Senate

Ronna Romney McDaniel, niece of Mitt Romney, told the Detroit News on Tuesday that she will not seek the GOP nomination to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin.

Romney McDaniel considered the race last month after her father, Scott Romney, passed on a run.

But she cited family obligations as her ultimate reason not to run, telling the newspaper, “It’s not the right time to put my kids through something like that.”

Democrats have the advantage in the race for Levin’s seat given Michigan’s recent voting history. Potential Democratic candidates include Debbie Dingell, the wife of longtime Rep. John D. Dingell, and Reps. Gary Peters and Dan Kildee.

On the GOP side, Reps. Mike Rogers and Justin Amash, former GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis and former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land continue to mull runs.

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