Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 25, 2014

March 22, 2013

Shop Talk: NRSC Hires Press Secretary and Western Regional Political Director

The National Republican Senatorial Committee continues to add staff for 2014, bringing on Brook Hougesen as press secretary and Sarah Morgan as western regional political director.

Hougesen heads to the NRSC from Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s office, where she served as the Illinois Republican’s communications director. Last cycle, she worked for the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC and its sister organization, American Action Network.

Morgan served as campaign manager for Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., last fall. She’s also worked as a state office administrator for former Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.

These NRSC hires are in addition to the committee’s January staff announcement. On Monday, GOP operative Matt Lira announced that he would be the committee’s new deputy executive director.

March 21, 2013

Republicans Launch Opposition Research Firm

Three Republican operatives have launched an opposition research group to serve as a counterweight to the successful Democratic venture, American Bridge 21st Century.

Matt Rhoades, Joe Pounder and Tim Miller have formed America Rising, a group devoted to candidate research, tracking, rapid response and digital tools to help the party define its opposition through research and proactive communication efforts. They hope to put the GOP on equal footing with Democrats, who were widely believed to have a leg up in the research field, something spelled out in the 2012 autopsy report released this week by the Republican National Committee.

America Rising, organized as a limited liability company, will conduct research and provide tracking as a product for Republican campaigns, committees and conservative advocacy groups. Separately, America Rising PAC will serve as the super PAC arm of the organization, focusing on rapid response, communications, social media and digital advertising campaigns. Full story

Shop Talk: Booker Hires Kevin Griffis for Senate Race

Shop Talk: Booker Hires Kevin Griffis for Senate Race

Booker is exploring a bid for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Newark Mayor Cory Booker continues to staff up his nascent Senate campaign; he has hired Kevin Griffis to serve as a senior adviser with a focus on communications.

Booker filed paperwork to explore a run for the open New Jersey Senate seat a couple of months ago, and this new hire signals he is continuing to put together campaign infrastructure.

Public polls show Booker with high ratings since he announced a bid for Senate last year. But several other Democratic candidates are considering a bid, including Reps. Rush D. Holt and Frank Pallone Jr., state Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and state Senate President Steve Sweeney.

A veteran of of Democratic politics in Virginia, Griffis worked on President Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, according to a 2012 press release from the Podesta Group. Griffis worked at the Department of Commerce prior to his time at the Podesta Group. In 2008, he served as Obama’s communications director for the tough South Carolina Democratic primary.

CQ Roll Call has profiled Booker’s early hires, although his finance director ultimately opted against taking an official role in the campaign.

Connecticut: Himes Fundraises Off McMahon House Race Rumors

Connecticut: Himes Fundraises Off McMahon House Race Rumors

McMahon ran for Senate twice in Connecticut. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., used the possibility of former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon running for Congress to bring in bucks on Thursday.

“She’s baaaaaaaaack,” read the email from Himes, who warned his supporters that the two-time Senate candidate could try to “buy” a House seat.

Local news outlets report that McMahon has continued to stay involved in local GOP politics since losing two Senate races. She’s scheduled to meet with top local party leadership this month, according to the Greenwich Time, and McMahon regularly updates her Facebook page for supporters. Connecticut Republicans have “quietly tried to gauge McMahon’s interest” in running for Himes’ 4th District seat, a source told local reporters late last month.

But a McMahon spokeswoman said “she has no plans to run for any office,” in response to an inquiry from CQ Roll Call about a future bid.

Such statements have not stopped Himes from fundraising off the possibility she might run against him. Full story

California: Honda’s Internal Poll Finds Him in Strong Position

California: Hondas Internal Poll Finds Him in Strong Position

An internal poll released by Honda showed the seven-term Democrat leading two opponents in a hypothetical top-two primary matchup by a wide margin. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Michael M. Honda, D-Calif., sent a signal to his potential opponents Thursday that they would start a campaign at a major disadvantage if they challenged him.

An internal poll released by Honda showed the seven-term Democrat leading two opponents in a hypothetical top-two primary matchup by a wide margin.

Honda took 57 percent, followed by 2012 GOP candidate Evelyn Li with 13 percent and former Obama administration official Ro Khanna with 5 percent. Full story

Georgia: Storm of Congressional Change Brewing in 2014

Georgia: Storm of Congressional Change Brewing in 2014

Barrow indicated this week he is considering a run for Senate in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the end of the first quarter approaches, Georgia is shaping up to be ground zero for the most congressional turnover in the 2014 cycle. No other open Senate seat so far this cycle has produced as much jockeying among the House delegation as in the Peach State, where as many as five members could be poised to run statewide.

GOP Reps. Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston appear poised to soon announce bids for the state’s open Senate seat, joining Rep. Paul Broun, who has already declared.

Republican Rep. Tom Price has reportedly met with the National Republican Senatorial Committee this week. Price has said he will not make a decision on a bid until May. On the Democratic side, Blue Dog Rep. John Barrow opened the door —  widely — to a Senate run.

And members may not be the only candidates hoping to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss: Karen Handel, a former gubernatorial candidate, and David Perdue, the nephew of a former governor, are reportedly mulling bids.

All the ambition sets up the very real possibility that five members of the state’s congressional delegation will mount a statewide bid, leaving five open House seats and creating a serious downballot domino effect between now and next year’s primary. Full story

Baldwin to Chair DSCC Women’s Outreach Effort

Baldwin to Chair DSCC Womens Outreach Effort

Baldwin will chair the Democratic Women's Senate Network (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

First-term Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin will lead the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s outreach to women in the 2014 cycle.

The Democratic Women’s Senate Network, established in 2001, helps the DSCC engage donors and women supporters around the country in an effort to win more Senate races and elect more women to the Senate, according to a news release from the committee.

“Helping engage and lead our incredibly strong network of women supporters will be one of the most important jobs this cycle,” said DSCC Chairman Michael Bennet of Colorado in a written statement.

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 10:51 a.m.
DSCC

March 20, 2013

NRCC Raises $14.4 Million at Annual March Dinner

NRCC Raises $14.4 Million at Annual March Dinner

Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon heads the National Republican Congressional Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee raised a record $14.4 million off of its Wednesday evening fundraising dinner, according to a committee source.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker headlined the event, and Wisconsin Rep. Paul D. Ryan served as the chairman for the annual dinner for the committee’s top donors.  Full story

Hawaii: Hanabusa to Announce Plans in Next Several Weeks

Hawaii: Hanabusa to Announce Plans in Next Several Weeks

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Passed over in December for an appointment to the state’s vacant Senate seat by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in favor of now-Sen. Brian Schatz, Democratic Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is deciding whether to challenge one of them in a primary next year.

According to a source close to the congresswoman, Hanabusa will likely decide on whether to run for governor, senator or for re-election within the next couple of weeks and then announce her plans soon after.

A poll commissioned by Hanabusa and leaked to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser earlier this month showed Hanabusa leading both Abercrombie and Schatz by double-digit margins in hypothetical Democratic primaries. Should Hanabusa challenge either in a statewide contest, several Democrats would no doubt enter the race to replace her in the safely Democratic 1st District.

The Senate seat now held by Schatz became vacant after the death of longtime Democratic Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.

South Carolina: Sanford Still the Front-Runner Heading Into Runoff

South Carolina: Sanford Still the Front Runner Heading Into Runoff

(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

After a first-place primary finish on Tuesday, former Gov. Mark Sanford remains the front-runner to win South Carolina’s 1st District as he heads to a Republican runoff with attorney Curtis Bostic on April 2.

Bostic is less familiar to the electorate than Sanford, a former congressman from that area. The personal-injury lawyer has a smaller fundraising base, plans to eschew negative advertising during the runoff and is seen by operatives as too focused on his social conservatism in a district where fiscal conservatism is paramount.

“It looks pretty good for Sanford. He drew the ideal opponent,” said Will Folks, an influential political blogger in the state who is neutral in the race.

Sanford took 37 percent in Tuesday’s 16-person GOP primary, while Bostic took 13 percent. Because no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers head to a runoff.

Full story

Wisconsin: Ryan’s Former Democratic Foe Explores Rematch

Wisconsin: Ryans Former Democratic Foe Explores Rematch

Zerban has filed an exploratory committee to challenge Ryan, above, again. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrat Rob Zerban announced Wednesday that he is preparing for a rematch with Republican Rep. Paul D. Ryan in Wisconsin’s 1st District.

Ryan defeated Zerban, a former catering company owner, by 12 points last November, when the House Budget Committee chairman simultaneously ran for vice president and re-election. Still, the last election was the “closest challenge” of Ryan’s congressional career, according to Zerban’s campaign.

The 1st District includes competitive territory, but Ryan has easily held the seat since he first won it in 1998. One of Ryan’s greatest campaign strengths is his fundraising. In the 2012 cycle, he raised nearly $5 million and spent nearly $6.7 million.

But facing Ryan — and his national profile — also proved lucrative for Zerban, who spent nearly $2.4 million. Full story

DSCC Outraised NRSC in February

 

DSCC Outraised NRSC in February

Sen. Michael Bennet is chairman of the DSCC, which brought in $4.3 million last month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee outraised its GOP counterpart nearly 2-to-1 last month, marking the second month in a row it has brought in significantly more cash than the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

According to figures provided by the committees, the DSCC raised $4.3 million in February and had $5.1 million in cash on hand at the end of the month. The NRSC raised $2.2 million and had $3.1 million in the bank on Feb. 28. Full story

DCCC Announces Community Outreach Chairmen

DCCC Announces Community Outreach Chairmen

Becerra will chair a new DCCC council. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced on Wednesday the members who will lead its community outreach programs. The members will chair councils designed to keep the committee connected with various supportive communities for Democrats, including Native Americans, immigrants, LGBT, labor and defense.

The chairmen of the councils are:

Full story

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 1:02 p.m.
DCCC

Shop Talk: Hagan Signs Coady, Brees to Re-Election Finance Team

Shop Talk: Hagan Signs Coady, Brees to Re Election Finance Team

Hagan is staffing up for her 2014 re-election campaign (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., continues to staff her re-election campaign by bringing on two new aides: John Coady will serve as her finance director and Erika Brees will serve as her state finance director.

Brees and Coady are veterans of another targeted incumbent’s re-election race: Sen. Claire McCaskill’s campaign in Missouri last year. Coady held the same title with the McCaskill campaign, while Brees was her Missouri deputy finance director.

The junior senator from North Carolina is one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the 2014 cycle, although her GOP opponent is unclear. In the meantime, Hagan continues to bring on operatives for her re-election. She announced last week that she had hired Preston Elliott to be her 2014 campaign manager.

The list of Hagan’s potential opponents includes obstetrician and tea party supporter Greg Brannon, state House Speaker Thom Tillis, Rep. Renee Ellmers, state Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry.

March 19, 2013

South Carolina: Sanford Heads to Runoff, but GOP Opponent Unknown

South Carolina: Sanford Heads to Runoff, but GOP Opponent Unknown

(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Updated 10:52 p.m. | Former Gov. Mark Sanford will advance, as expected, to the Republican primary runoff on April 2.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Sanford took 37 percent, according to The Associated Press. That was enough to send him to a head-to-head matchup with another Republican, but not over the 50 percent threshold needed to win the nomination outright.

Sanford appears poised to face attorney Curtis Bostic, who received the second-highest number of votes.

But a recount loomed: Bostic, a former Charleston County councilman, led state Sen. Larry Groom by only 493 votes, or 0.92 percent of ballots cast.

Under South Carolina election law, if the margin separating two candidates is one point or less, an automatic recount takes place — unless the other candidate waives a recount in writing.

Grooms is not conceding and, as of Tuesday night, does not plan to waive a recount, Grooms strategist Hogan Gidley told CQ Roll Call.

Full story

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