Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 29, 2014

March 27, 2013

Georgia: Gingrey Enters Senate Race

Georgia: Gingrey Enters Senate Race

Gingrey is the second member to enter the Georgia Senate race. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On Wednesday morning, Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey entered what’s expected to be a crowded and spirited Republican primary for the Peach State’s open Senate seat.

Speaking in his hometown of Augusta, Ga., Gingrey joined Rep. Paul Broun as the first two major candidates to announce bids for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss. The news was not a surprise, as Gingrey has been putting together a campaign team for a statewide bid. Full story

March 26, 2013

South Dakota: Johnson Makes Retirement From Senate Official

South Dakota: Johnson Makes Retirement From Senate Official

Johnson will not seek re-election in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson will not seek re-election in 2014, vacating what was already one of the Democrats’ most vulnerable seats.

Johnson announced his retirement Tuesday at his alma mater, the University of South Dakota, in his hometown of Vermillion.

“I will be 68 years old at the end of this term, and it is time for me to say goodbye,” Johnson said at a press conference. He thanked Democrats, Republicans and independents for supporting him in 12 straight general elections since 1978.

Senate Republicans already indicated they will target the seat, which is one of the party’s top pickup opportunities. The GOP already boasts a top-tier candidate in the race, former two-term Gov. Mike Rounds.

However, the GOP primary field could grow as other Republicans, including Rep. Kristi Noem, continue to consider the race. And the Senate Conservatives Fund announced Tuesday that it is seeking an alternative to Rounds, the first outside group to indicate it intends to play in the primary. Full story

Napolitano Predicts Arizona Will Become Democratic Stronghold

Napolitano Predicts Arizona Will Become Democratic Stronghold

Napolitano thinks Arizona will transform from a swing state to a Democratic stronghold. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano predicted Arizona will follow its Southwestern neighbors and move from swing-state status to Democratic stronghold as the border state’s demographics continue to change.

On Tuesday, the former Arizona governor told reporters that she is confident her home state will take after Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado in gaining Democratic voters in the coming cycles.

“Arizona will be behind them,” Napolitano said during a discussion hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “I think it will be more purple over time, but ultimately blue.”

In 2012, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., secured his first term with a 3-point margin of victory in a race much closer than many operatives anticipated. Meanwhile, partisan control of the congressional delegation flipped as Democrats won two House seats and Republicans lost one seat. But those gains were also a reflection of a newly redrawn congressional map that favored Democrats.

“It’ll happen, I think,” Napolitano said. “The fact that I could win three straight elections there, I think is indicative that Democrats can win and do win in Arizona.”

In the 2012 elections, Republican Mitt Romney carried Arizona with more than 54 percent of the vote. In John McCain’s failed bid for president in 2008, the GOP senator won his home state with 53 percent.

But the recent presidential elections have been somewhat anomalous, Napolitano said. In 2012, President Barack Obama’s campaign “really didn’t play in Arizona,” and McCain is a “favorite son” back home, she said.

Full story

Massachusetts: Markey Leads in Another Special Election Poll

Massachusetts: Markey Leads in Another Special Election Poll

Markey leads in a new Senate poll. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Edward J. Markey led by double digits in a new poll in the Democratic primary for the Massachusetts Senate special election.

According to the WBUR poll, 35 percent of likely Democratic primary voters said they would support Markey, 24 percent backed Rep. Stephen F. Lynch and 41 percent remained undecided.

The results follow a poll from earlier this month showing Markey ahead of Lynch by a nearly 30-point margin.

The winner of the April 30 Democratic primary will be heavily favored to win the seat of former Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who is now secretary of State. In this poll, both Markey and Lynch led their potential GOP opponents for the June 25 special election by wide margins. Full story

Gingrich Forms Committee to Retire Campaign Debt, Help Candidates

Gingrich Forms Committee to Retire Campaign Debt, Help Candidates

Gingrich's 2012 campaign owes about $5 million. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has formed a new fundraising venture, Committee for America, to support conservatives and retire his 2012 campaign debt.

The new group combines American Legacy PAC and Gingrich’s former presidential campaign to ”train” future conservative candidates and “chart a course for a better America,” according to a news release.

Gingrich’s campaign owes nearly $5 million, according to online fundraising records.

Here’s how the new committee describes the financial arrangement:

Full story

March 25, 2013

California: Honda Touts Additional Democratic Support

California: Honda Touts Additional Democratic Support

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Michael M. Honda is continuing to roll out internal polling and endorsements to scare off potential challenges from fellow Democrats.

Honda announced Monday the endorsements of California’s two Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, who said in separate statements that Silicon Valley needed Honda’s leadership.

The latest endorsements come a week after Honda released an internal poll that found him well ahead in a hypothetical top-two primary against two possible challengers, a Republican who lost to him in 2012 and former Obama administration official Ro Khanna, who is rumored to be eyeing Honda’s seat. The news also comes two months after Honda was endorsed by President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

Khanna has not announced his plans yet, but his million-dollar war chest is enough to push Honda to play defense aggressively early in the cycle. The state’s top-two primary format means Honda could face Khanna in the general election, a scenario that ended the careers of two Democratic incumbents in 2012.

DCCC Courts Donors at Annual Issues Conference

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hosted its third annual New York Issues Conference on Saturday, featuring access to top lawmaker panels for its supporters.

The event, a brainchild of DCCC Chairman Steve Israel of New York, is intended to fete committee donors from Capitol Hill to the Empire State. House candidates attended as well, one Democrat in attendance said.

New York Rep. Carolyn McCarthy spoke on gun violence, and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, both of California, talked about immigration, according to a copy of the agenda obtained by CQ Roll Call. Full story

South Carolina: 2016 Courtship Boosts Colbert Busch in Special Election

South Carolina: 2016 Courtship Boosts Colbert Busch in Special Election

O'Malley visited South Carolina this weekend. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Three years before the South Carolina presidential primary, prospective presidential candidates are courting first-in-the-South Democratic activists — and, in one case this weekend, boosting a long-shot special-election House candidate.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley spent the weekend making overtures to the Palmetto State’s Democratic establishment.

On March 23, O’Malley name-dropped Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch’s campaign for the 1st District special election in his keynote speech to the South Carolina Democratic Party’s Issues Conference. He noted that his daughter, a College of Charleston student, is one of her volunteers, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.

That same day, CNN reported that Biden will attend a fundraising dinner for the South Carolina Democratic Party just days before the May 7 special election — although Biden will not visit the coastal 1st District.

“The vice president will not be coming to the 1st District while he is in the Palmetto State, and Elizabeth will be totally involved campaigning in the 1st District while he is in town,” a spokesperson for Colbert Busch said in an email to CQ Roll Call. Full story

Arkansas: Pryor Disses Bloomberg’s Gun Control Media Blitz

Arkansas: Pryor Disses Bloombergs Gun Control Media Blitz

Pryor is considered vulnerable in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The first sign that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s $12 million gun control ad campaign targeting senators might not go as planned?

One of 2014′s most vulnerable Democratic incumbents, Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, is using the media blitz to demonstrate political space between him and Bloomberg.

“I’ve gotten a lot of questions about NYC Mayor gun ad. My response? I don’t take gun advice from the Mayor of NYC. I listen to Arkansans,” Pryor tweeted Monday afternoon.

Bloomberg announced over the weekend that he plans to fund advertisements in 13 states during the Easter recess targeting vulnerable Democratic senators, including Pryor, and Republicans representing competitive states. The goal, according to The New York Times, is to pressure senators he believes could be persuaded to support universal background checks for firearm sales.

Full story

Report: Johnson Will Announce Retirement in South Dakota on Tuesday

Report: Johnson Will Announce Retirement in South Dakota on Tuesday

Johnson will make an announcement Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Tim Johnson will announce his future political plans in South Dakota on Tuesday, and according to a Reuters report, the three-term Democrat will retire.

Johnson will hold a news conference “regarding the 2014 election” at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion — his 1969 alma mater — at 4 p.m. ET, according to a Monday press release from his Senate office. Full story

Connecticut: Greenberg Announces Another Bid for 5th District

 

Connecticut: Greenberg Announces Another Bid for 5th District

Democrats say Esty, right, could be vulnerable in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican businessman Mark Greenberg will make a third run for Congress in Connecticut’s 5th District, the Hartford Courant is reporting.

If Greenberg wins his party’s nod in 2014, he will challenge freshman Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty. This western Connecticut district is competitive and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recently named Esty part of its Frontline incumbent protection program.

Full story

March 22, 2013

Michigan: Granholm Won’t Run for Open Senate Seat

Michigan: Granholm Wont Run for Open Senate Seat

Granholm will not seek the Senate in 2014. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced Friday via Facebook that she will not run for retiring Sen. Carl Levin’s seat.

“Friends, thanks for all of the encouragement on the Michigan Senate seat, but I’m not going to run,” the Democrat wrote. “I appreciate all of the outreach I’ve received; for several reasons it’s just not right for us (it’s a family decision). My best to all the contenders — Levin’s US Senate seat will stay blue!”

Democrats are in a strong position to keep 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 Chair Saul Anuzis and former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land are mulling runs.

Kentucky: Judd Makes Rare Reference to Senate Race in Speech

Kentucky: Judd Makes Rare Reference to Senate Race in Speech

Judd might run for Senate in Kentucky. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 4:29 p.m. | Actress Ashley Judd made a few rare references to her possible bid to challenge Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., during a speech in Cincinnati on Friday.

According to local FOX affiliate WXIX-TV, Judd mentioned the sizable campaign war chest that McConnell is expected to leverage during his re-election campaign next year. At a speech to the American Counseling Association, Judd joked that her mother, country singer Naomi Judd, wants to turn her garage into a campaign headquarters, according to the local report. Full story

Ohio: Former Rep. Betty Sutton Not Running For Governor

Ohio: Former Rep. Betty Sutton Not Running For Governor

Sutton will not run for Ohio governor in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Ohio, will not run for the Buckeye State’s governor’s office in 2014.

“I want to thank all who have encouraged me to run for Governor,” she Tweeted on Friday. “After thoughtful consideration, I have decided that I will not do so in 2014.”

Sutton lost re-election to Rep. James B. Renacci by 4 points in the Cleveland-area 16th District in one of last cycle’s most targeted races. Since then, Democrats have been talking her up as a potential statewide candidate, suggesting she might challenge Republican Gov. John Kasich.

Sutton’s announcement comes just a couple weeks after one of the state’s most prominent Democrats, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald announced he’s exploring a bid for governor. Also this month, Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan announced he would not challenge Kasich.

Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.

By Abby Livingston Posted at 12:57 p.m.
Ohio

Super PAC Targets Two Freshman Democrats With Small Buy

Congressional Leadership Fund, a center-right super PAC, released its first television advertisements of the 2014 cycle on Friday.

The buy is very small — only “four figures,” according to an aide with the super PAC.

Versions of the spot will air in New York and Florida, criticizing Democratic Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney in New York’s 18th District and Joe Garcia in Florida’s 26th District.

The Maloney version:

Full story

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