Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 22, 2014

February 11, 2013

Massachusetts: Gomez Pulls Papers for GOP Senate Run

Massachusetts Republican Gabriel Gomez, a private equity investor and former Navy SEAL and aircraft carrier pilot, pulled nomination papers Monday for a Senate bid in the special election, a Republican official confirmed to CQ Roll Call.

Gomez will have until Feb. 27 to collect 10,000 valid signatures of Republican and nonpartisan voters to get on the primary ballot — a daunting challenge for any candidate.

There is only one other GOP candidate vying for the open Senate seat who is seen as likely to get on the ballot: state Rep. Dan Winslow, who announced his campaign last week.

Two congressmen, Edward J. Markey and Stephen F. Lynch, are squaring off for the Democratic nomination for the seat formerly held by their Democratic colleague, Secretary of State John Kerry.

CQ Roll Call rates the Massachusetts Senate special election as Likely Democratic.

The Boston Globe reported the news about Gomez earlier Monday evening.

South Carolina: Skelly Exits Special Election; Colbert’s Sister Now Top Democratic Contender

Wealthy businessman Martin Skelly on Monday dropped out of the special election for South Carolina’s 1st District and endorsed fellow Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert.

“Elizabeth Colbert Busch has demonstrated that she is an outstanding candidate,” Skelly said in a statement released by the Busch campaign. “She inspires both the party faithful and the political center that we need to generate consensus and end gridlock in Congress.”

Busch is now the odds on favorite to win the Democratic nod, although she remains a decided underdog in the special election. Still, she is expected to raise serious money for the race. Her brother is hosting fundraisers in New York City and Charleston, S.C., next week on behalf of her campaign. Full story

Georgia: Price Will Wait on Senate Decision Until May

Georgia: Price Will Wait on Senate Decision Until May

Price will decide later this year about a Senate bid. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Price on Monday announced he would not make a decision on a Senate run until May, citing his responsibilities as vice chairman of the Budget Committee.

“The election of Georgia’s next senator is 21 months away and there is plenty of time for campaigning,” Price said in a statement. “To announce a decision prior to the completion of the work on the debt ceiling and critical fiscal policy in May 2013, would be distracting and unwise. At that time, Betty and I will then be prepared to come to a decision on my candidacy for the U.S. Senate as Georgia’s conservative voice.”

Since Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said he would not run for re-election last month, a number of Peach State congressmen have eyed the seat. Rep. Paul Broun announced his run last week.

But Price’s decision to wait to make a decision could complicate other potential candidates’ strategies. In his statement, Price signaled that his delay was not a sign of weakness.

Full story

Iowa: Democrat Sherzan Announces Bid in 3rd District

Businessman Mike Sherzan, a Democrat, announced Monday that he will run for Iowa’s 3rd District in what could be an open-seat race next year.

“I look forward to meeting with people all across Iowa, working together to begin to break through the old Washington ways, and instead solving problems to move Iowa forward – together,” Sherzan said in a statement.

The seat is currently held by Republican Rep. Tom Latham, who has indicated interest in running for retiring Sen. Tom Harkin’s seat next year. Latham defeated Rep. Leonard L. Boswell, a Democrat, in a targeted member-vs.-member battle last year. Full story

Shop Talk: NRCC Announces Regional Political Team

The National Republican Congressional Committee on Monday announced its regional political team for the 2014 cycle.

The committee’s political director, Rob Simms, said in a statement, “Each member has unique experience working within the political realm, which will prove to be an invaluable tool as we head into the 2014 election cycle.”

The newly announced team includes: Full story

Giffords Gun Control Group Releases Ad in Targeted TV Markets

Updated 11:08 a.m. | Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun control group backed by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, has released a new television advertisement advocating for background checks.

“Take it from me, Congress must act,” Giffords says in the spot. “Let’s get this done now.”

The spot will air in the home districts of congressional leaders in the following markets: Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Calif., Cincinnati, Ohio, Louisville, Ky, and Las Vegas, Nev., and will air locally on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.

Full story

February 9, 2013

Missouri: Republicans Pick Smith as Nominee for Emerson Seat

Local Republican officials nominated Saturday 32-year-old state Rep. Jason Smith for the open seat in Missouri’s 8th District.

“Jason is a hard worker, good conservative,” Missouri GOP strategist James Harris said. “He fits the district very well. And he’s very knowledgeable about [agricultural] issues.”

Given the very heavy Republican bent of the district, Smith is all but certain to become the newest Show-Me State House member after the June 4 special election. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., resigned from Congress last month, prompting a special election to succeed her.

The 8th District, which stretches over a vast swath of the southeastern part of the state, including the Bootheel, is strongly Republican turf. In 2012, voters there only gave Barack Obama about 32 percent of the vote.

Roll Call rates the race as Safe Republican.

Pennsylvania: Schwartz Closer to Gubernatorial Bid

Pennsylvania: Schwartz Closer to Gubernatorial Bid

Schwartz has been climbing the rungs of Democratic leadership and had indicated interest in challenging Gov. Corbett. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 3:57 p.m. | Rep. Allyson Y.  Schwartz, D-Pa., is increasingly close to jumping into the gubernatorial race.

“She’s 80 percent of the way in,” Marcel Groen, the longtime Montgomery County Democratic Party chairman, told PoliticsPA late Friday night.

Schwartz had previously indicated some interest in challenging GOP Gov. Tom Corbett in 2014. She would enter the race as a top contender, although other well-known state Democrats are also openly considering a bid.

Her chief of staff, Rachel Magnuson, confirmed the congresswoman’s interest in the race to CQ Roll Call.

Full story

Illinois: Rush, Davis to Endorse Kelly in Special Election for Jackson Seat

Illinois: Rush, Davis to Endorse Kelly in Special Election for Jackson Seat

Davis is expected to endorse Kelly in the coming days. She is one of a handful of Democratic candidates running to replace Jackson. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Illinois Reps. Danny K. Davis and Bobby L. Rush are wading into the crowded special election to replace former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.

The Democratic duo will back Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly in the coming days, according to two sources with close knowledge of the situation.

Their support caps several strong days for Kelly, who received the Chicago Tribune’s endorsement last night. The winner of the Feb. 26 Democratic primary will come to Congress in all likelihood, given the district’s heavy Democratic composition.

This week, Kelly became the first candidate in the race to hit the airwaves. She released a poll showing her leading the Democratic field in the 2nd District. She’s benefited from more than $820,000 in spending from a super PAC run by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Independence USA PAC.

Full story

February 8, 2013

Iowa: King Waits on Senate Bid, Disputes Criticism on Viability

Iowa: King Waits on Senate Bid, Disputes Criticism on Viability

King has been criticized by some conservatives, but it doesn't appear that it will keep him out of the race for Senate. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

BALTIMORE — Rep. Steve King hinted Friday that a run for the Iowa Senate may be imminent, but said he does not want to announce in the wake of GOP strategist Karl Rove’s attacks on him.

Since American Crossroads President Steven Law attacked him in The New York Times last weekend, King, a Republican, said he continues to consider a run to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.

“It’s under deliberation of course, and it’s something that I had been looking at before Tom Harkin announced his retirement and now that that has happened, of course it accelerated the decision making process,” King said as he was leaving a Heritage Foundation-sponsored retreat for conservative Republicans in Baltimore.

“I don’t want to step into this thing and make an announcement in the face of the issue that Karl Rove has raised,” he continued. “We’ve got to decide first who’s going to nominate people for public office in America: Somebody outside the state with a big checkbook, or the people of Iowa.”

Full story

Bill Clinton Offers Dose of Reality, Warning to House Dems

Bill Clinton Offers Dose of Reality, Warning to House Dems

(Pool Win McNamee/Getty Images)

LEESBURG, Va. — At a retreat here that has been notable for the improbable exuberance of an energized House Democratic Caucus, President Bill Clinton offered doubt.

Drawing on lessons from his own presidency, Clinton said 2014 poses a more difficult challenge than 2012 and urged lawmakers to tread carefully on the issues of health care, gun control and the economy.

“I can’t tell you how many nights — countless nights in the White House. Every single night before I went to bed for months and months and months after the 1994 election, I thought about the people who were defeated because they voted for the economic plan, I thought about the people who were defeated because they voted for the assault weapons ban. I knew exactly what had happened. And I thought a lot about those who survived and why they did,” Clinton told lawmakers, referring to the 1994 midterm elections that were a GOP landslide.

“I think it’s important to take some action now that it is possible on the issue of gun violence, but it’s important to do it right,” he added. Full story

Massachusetts: State Representative Announces for Markey Seat

Democratic state Rep. Carl Sciortino today announced a bid for Massachusetts’ 5th District seat.

“I am really proud of the progressive leadership that Ed Markey has brought to our district, and I’m looking forward to continuing that leadership in Washington for communities here,” Sciortino said in a telephone interview with CQ Roll Call.

Rep. Edward J. Markey currently serves the safely Democratic 5th District, which includes suburbs to the north and west of Boston. Markey is the frontrunner in the Senate special election.

Sciortino cited “equality, reproductive health and the future of our environment” as issues that he is focused on and would emphasize if he gets to Capitol Hill.

Sciortino first ran for state representative in 2004 at age 25. The race pivoted on same-sex marriage, which the openly gay Sciortino supports. He faced an incumbent who opposed it. After a hard-fought race, Sciortino won the primary by 93 votes. He took office in 2005 and has been re-elected ever since.

Full story

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

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