Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 30, 2014

February 8, 2013

Obama to Help House Democrats Recruit Candidates

Obama to Help House Democrats Recruit Candidates

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:30 p.m. | LEESBURG, Va. — President Barack Obama has agreed to do more than just raise money for House Democrats’ effort to win back the majority in 2014: He is also going to help with candidate recruitment.

Obama will headline eight fundraising events in 2013 for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and more fundraisers are planned for 2014. But Obama’s agreement to help DCCC Chairman Steve Israel of New York make the sell to would-be candidates in targeted districts is also significant.

“It’s transformational,” Israel said in an interview, adding that House Democrats are “firing on all cylinders like I’ve never seen before.”

The president’s efforts to assist House Democrats politically are more than Israel initially even asked for.

Obama initially reached out to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Israel just after leaving the stage where he delivered his victory speech in Chicago on election night. Four years into his presidency, and after keeping the DCCC practically at arm’s length as he focused on his own re-election in the 2012 cycle, he was finally turning his gaze toward winning back the House. Full story

Iowa: Vilsack Would Be Potent Senate Candidate, Poll Finds

Not so fast, Rep. Bruce Braley. There’s another Iowa Democrat with plenty of goodwill awaiting him if he runs for Senate: former Gov. Tom Vilsack.

That’s according to a new poll of 802 Iowa adults conducted by Ann Selzer on behalf of the Des Moines Register. It was fielded Feb. 3-6 and released Friday — one day after Braley announced he would seek the seat.

With Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin retiring, poll respondents were read a list of possible candidates and asked whether each would be appealing. Fifty-six percent said Vilsack would be an appealing candidate, and 36 percent said the same of Braley, who represents a northeastern Iowa district. Rep. Tom Latham received the best score among the Republicans, with 40 percent viewing him as an appealing candidate. Full story

February 7, 2013

Massachusetts: Republican Winslow Officially Joins Senate Race

Republican state Rep. Dan Winslow made his campaign for the Senate official Thursday.

Winslow, a former judge and legal counsel to Mitt Romney and ex-Sen. Scott Brown, is the first GOP candidate to get in the race.

“I ask your prayers and good will for my family and me in this effort,” he wrote in a letter to local activists. “I will give it everything I have.”

In a short interview, Winslow said his campaign would be focused on the deficit and the economy. Asked about his close ties to Romney and Brown, two Republicans who lost Bay State electoral contests last November, Winslow replied: “I am my own man. I have a record of being socially moderate and fiscally conservative.”

He is one of four Republicans who have pulled nominating papers from the secretary of state’s office. As of Thursday afternoon, papers have been pulled for Winslow, MBA student Joshua Hill, former Ashland Board of Selectman Chairman Jon Fetherston and Therese M. Rohrbeck.

Full story

Iowa: Potential Candidates Named for Braley’s 1st District

Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley opened the floodgates of ambitious pols eyeing his Iowa district when he announced his Senate bid Thursday.

Hawkeye State operatives expect a deep and competitive field for the Democratic-leaning 1st District, which is anchored by Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and Waterloo in eastern Iowa.

The dominoes tipped last month when Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin announced he would not seek a sixth term, creating the first open-seat Senate race in Iowa in four decades. Braley is the only announced candidate, but GOP Reps. Steve King and Tom Latham are considering bids.

Here’s a look at the early names Democrats floated for Braley’s House seat:

Full story

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 4:55 p.m.
House 2014, Iowa-1

Illinois: Kelly Releases First TV Ad in Special Election

Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly will air her first television spot, marking the first Democratic candidate to hit the airwaves in the special election for former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s seat.

Her ad buy is for “at least” five figures on cable television in the 2nd District, according to a Kelly spokesman. The spot highlights Kelly’s support for gun control, a pivotal issue on Chicago’s South Side.

“In the legislature, she worked with Barack Obama to crack down on illegal gun sales,” a male narrator says. “In Congress, Kelly will keep taking on the NRA, fighting to ban assault weapons and outlaw high-capacity ammunition clips.”

Full story

Iowa: Braley Announces Bid for Senate

Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, told supporters Thursday he is running for Senate.

The four-term congressman’s entrance into the race gives Democrats a top-tier candidate to hold the seat of retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who announced last month he will not seek a sixth term.

“It’s a big responsibility to represent the people of Iowa in the United States Senate, especially after Tom Harkin has shown us how for the last 30 years,” Braley said in the email. “But, if you are willing to help me, I’m ready to go.”

Full story

Obama to Fundraise for House, Senate Committees

Updated: 1:09 p.m. | President Barack Obama will hold at least 14 fundraisers this year to support Democratic efforts to take control of the House and keep the majority in the Senate.

They include five outside-D.C. events for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and five outside-D.C. events for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, along with separate and joint appearances for the committees in Washington, D.C.

As the country’s best fundraiser, Obama’s appearances will boost both committees as they stockpile resources this year for competitive races in 2014.

House Democrats must win a net of 17 seats to take the majority. Senate Republicans need to net six seats to take back control of that chamber.

The news of the Obama-led fundraisers is a particular boon for the DCCC, which will be primarily on offense this cycle. Obama-Biden 2012 Campaign Manager Jim Messina told DCCC Chairman Steve Israel of New York the good news earlier this week.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is also expected to do fundraising events for the DCCC.

The New York Times first reported the Obama fundraisers, which were confirmed to CQ Roll Call by a Democratic official.

Walker to Headline NRCC Dinner March 20

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will headline House Republicans’ major fundraising dinner March 20.

Walker, who has been hailed as the conservative, collective-bargaining-busting hero, will deliver the keynote address at the National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual event at the National Building Museum.

Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the dinner, will work with Walker and other members on fundraising.

In 2012, South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley headlined the dinner, which brought in a hefty $12 million.

The news of Walker headlining the dinner was first reported by Yahoo News.

February 6, 2013

Illinois: New Kelly Poll Shows Her Leading Special Primary

Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly released an internal poll today that showed she has moved to the front of the Democratic pack in the crowded special primary to replace former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill.

Kelly garnered 26 percent in the poll among the top Democrats, according to a survey memo released by the campaign.

Former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, D-Ill, picked up 22 percent, while state Sen. Toi Hutchinson had the backing of 20 percent of those surveyed, and Alderman Anthony Beale had 10 percent.

The winner of the Feb. 26 Democratic primary will likely win the seat given the South Side district’s deep blue composition. But Chicago Democrats see the special primary as unpredictable because of the large number of candidates.

Full story

New Jersey: Geraldo Talks Senate Run on Facebook

Television personality Geraldo Rivera took to his Facebook page to clarify the legal ends of his Senate candidacy contemplations.

“Despite my constitutionally protected musings on whether to seek that high office, I am taking no formal steps to initiate the electoral process, making no declarations, forming no committees, raising no money and hiring no campaign aides,” Rivera wrote. “Therefore, there is no [Federal Communications Commission] complication regarding equal time.”

Rivera is getting at the fact that he hosts a radio program and is stating that he is still in compliance with the “equal time rule.”

Rivera has floated his name as a Republican contender in the 2014 Senate race in New Jersey. Democratic Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg has yet to announce whether he will seek re-election. Rivera’s recent comments have mostly been met with eye rolls, but according to The New York Times, Fox News “is taking it seriously.”

Full story

Georgia: Broun Files Senate Paperwork Ahead of Afternoon Campaign Launch

Georgia: Broun Files Senate Paperwork Ahead of Afternoon Campaign Launch

Broun is expected to announce his Senate bid on Wednesday afternoon. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun filed a federal statement of candidacy Wednesday to run for Senate.

The paperwork comes ahead of Broun’s expected 4 p.m. announcement in Atlanta that he will seek retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ seat.

The Republican senator announced last month he would not run for another term in 2014, kicking off a scramble among ambitious members of the Peach State delegation. Republican Reps. Jack Kingston, Tom Price and Phil Gingrey are all seen as likely to get into the race to succeed Chambliss. But Broun got the jump on his colleagues.

Broun is one of the chamber’s most socially and fiscally conservative members. He had a lifetime score of 99 percent from both the American Conservative Union and the anti-tax Club for Growth at the end of 2011, the most recent year for which data is available.

Full story

Montana: Stapleton Announces Challenge to Baucus

Former Montana state Sen. Corey Stapleton announced Wednesday that he will challenge Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, giving the six-term incumbent his first major Republican opponent.

“I want to make life better for Montanans, for all of us — our kids, our grandkids,” Stapleton said in a video posted to his campaign website. “That’s why I’m running for the United States Senate.”

Stapleton, a financial adviser, finished second last year in the seven-candidate Republican primary for governor. In 2012, Republicans lost both the governor’s race and the party’s challenge to Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, disappointments for the GOP in a state the party carried handily at the presidential level.

Baucus, 71, is one of six Democrats in the Senate seeking re-election in a state the president lost. Still, Tester held off a strong challenge from then-Rep. Denny Rehberg last year, and Baucus was sitting on a $3.6 million war chest as he began the 2014 cycle.

Stapleton is a Naval Academy graduate and served two terms in the state Senate, including stints as minority leader and chairman of the Legislative Campaign Committee.

Roll Call rates this races as Leans Democratic.

Joshua Miller contributed to this report.

Kentucky: American Crossroads Ad Attacks Ashley Judd

Kentucky: American Crossroads Ad Attacks Ashley Judd

American Crossroads released an ad targeting Judd, a potential Kentucky Senate candidate. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The juggernaut Republican third-party group American Crossroads on Wednesday released a scathing attack ad hitting actress and potential Kentucky Senate candidate Ashley Judd.

Judd, a Democrat mulling a bid to take on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, has been the target of GOP derision since her name first was floated late last year. But this appears to be the first time that derision has taken the form of a paid advertisement against her. It’s backed by $10,000 in digital advertising and will run for two weeks, a spokesman for American Crossroads said.

The one-minute ad is a sarcastic spot “in favor” of Judd.

Full story

February 5, 2013

Arizona: State GOP Prepares for Redistricting — in 2022

The Arizona Republican Party announced Tuesday that it has formed a committee of “experts and stakeholders” to prepare for the next redistricting cycle, slated for 2022.

“Arizona’s political landscape today reflects a flawed process where election districts were drawn up based on a one-sided political agenda and too much secrecy, and I’m taking action now to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” state GOP Chairman Robert Graham said in a statement.

“We are looking for an honest and open process that doesn’t favor one group of voters over another — one that is truly bipartisan and treats voters equally while putting an end to the discrimination against Republicans.”

Arizona featured one of the most protracted, nasty rounds of redistricting of any state last cycle. But operatives from both parties admit that Democrats got the better end of the independent commission-drawn map during the decennial process.

Full story

Georgia: Westmoreland Expects Crowded GOP Senate Field

Georgia: Westmoreland Expects Crowded GOP Senate Field

Westmoreland expects many of his House GOP colleagues to run for Senate in Georgia (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., expects a crowded field of contenders for retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ seat — including some of his House colleagues.

Peach State Republicans have told CQ Roll Call they were hopeful to avoid multiple House members jumping into the race. But Westmoreland cautioned that probably won’t be the case.

“I don’t think you can keep all of ‘em from running at once,” he said in a Tuesday phone interview, less than 24 hours after announcing he would not seek the seat.

“Congressman [Phil] Gingrey is very much interested in it,” he said, noting his colleague’s significant $1.9 million war chest at the end of last year.

“I think Congressman [Jack] Kingston will run,” Westmoreland said, emphasizing Kingston’s close ties to the agriculture industry and how they could help in his bid.

Full story

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