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

November 4, 2012

Illinois: Kirk Hopes to Return for Next Congress

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who suffered a debilitating stroke 10 months ago, is becoming increasingly more open about his recovery and granted his first interview with a reporter today since his health scare.

Kirk climbed 37 flights of the Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower and one of the word’s tallest buildings, as part of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s Stair climb. Upon completion of the event, he talked to a reporter from Chicago’s NBC affiliate.

Late last week, the campaign of Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.), who is engaged in one of the tightest House races in the nation, released a video of Kirk and Dold campaigning together.

Though Kirk did not address his possible return date in the brief footage of his conversation with the NBC affiliate, the reporter, Mary Ann Ahern, said both before and after the segment that Kirk now hopes to return to Congress in January.

Full video here.

Presidential Campaigns Make Closing Arguments in Sprint to Election Day

Presidential Campaigns Make Closing Arguments in Sprint to Election Day

President Barack Obama fires up supporters at a late-night rally in northern Virginia on Saturday. Obama and MItt Romney are barnstorming swing states in the last push to turnout voters on Election Day. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney made their closing pitches to swelled crowds of swing state supporters in the final weekend before voters deliver their verdict, while top surrogates hit the Sunday show circuit to spin their map to victory on Tuesday.

Much of the debate in the campaign’s final hours has focused on Pennsylvania, where Romney is campaigning today and where President Bill Clinton will stump for Obama on Monday. Republicans insist their last-minute play for the Keystone State is based on polling showing it’s winnable. But Democrats charge that the move is a sign of desperation from a team whose path to 270 electoral votes is narrowing.

Later today, Romney will stop in Morrisville, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia across the river from New Jersey. The Romney team sought to expand the battleground map with a late multi-million dollar investment on Pennsylvania airwaves, vastly outspending Democrats there in the last two weeks.

“It’s a remarkable juxtaposition here that Mitt Romney will be in the suburbs of Philadelphia today, and, you know, four years ago, Barack Obama was in Indiana,” Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie said on ABC’s “This Week.” “When you look at where this map has gone, it reflects the — the change and the direction and the momentum toward Governor Romney.  And the fact is that a state like Pennsylvania being in play, a poll out today showing Michigan a dead heat, you know, this — the map has expanded.” Full story

Race Rating Changes: The Final Push

Race Rating Changes: The Final Push

Supporters of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney listen Sunday during a rally in Des Moines, Iowa. With two days before Election Day, Romney is campaigning in swing states across the country. (Emmanuel Dunando/AFP/Getty Images)

Heading into the final weekend of barnstorming before Election Day, there was a noticeable shift toward the GOP in many key House races while Democrats seem to be getting more good news than bad about the Senate map.

First, the Senate math:

Yes, it’s quite possible (even likely) that Democrats such as Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Bob Casey (Pa.) will have closer margins on Election Day than most expect. But Democrats are likely to hold both seats, and the climb for Republicans to net the four seats they need for an outright majority (if President Barack Obama is re-elected) seems steep heading into election week.

Here’s what we know: Republicans are likely to pick up two Senate seats in Nebraska and North Dakota (although the race there remains close). Those gains are likely to be offset by Democratic pickups in Massachusetts and Maine, where an Independent is poised to win and will likely caucus with Democrats. Assuming Republicans hold their seats in Arizona and Nevada, which seems like a good bet, that’s a zero net gain, leaving the chamber’s makeup at 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans. Full story

November 3, 2012

New Jersey to Allow Voting by Email, Fax

New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno issued a series of directives late today that will allow voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy to cast absentee ballots by email and fax.

Guadagno, a Republican, serves as the state’s top elections official. In one of her new directives, she instructs county clerks to accept absentee voting applications by fax or email up until 5 p.m. on Election Day and to accept ballots themselves electronically until 8 p.m. that day.

Under the directive, all voters displaced by the storm are deemed to be overseas voters under New Jersey law.

Full story

Chris Christie Says New Jersey Is Ready to Vote ‘Old School’

Chris Christie Says New Jersey Is Ready to Vote Old School

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said today that the National Guard would be on hand to help ensure a smooth Election Day Tuesday in parts of his state that remain without power after Hurricane Sandy.

“Everybody should be ready to vote on Tuesday, and in fact you can vote beforehand. I’ve order the county clerks’ offices in every county in New Jersey to be open both days of the weekend.” the Republican said. “You don’t have to wait to vote. If you’ve got a little time on your hands, you’re tired of cleaning this stuff up, go there, in person, you’ll get a ballot, you vote, hand it in and you’re done.”

“If you wait until Tuesday, there’s one of three things that’ll happen. First,  if your polling place has power, you’ll go and you’ll walk in as normal and vote. If you’re polling place doesn’t have power, we will have a truck there, set up with National Guardsmen guarding it, for you to be able to go in and vote old school, with a paper ballot,” Christie said.

Full story

Nebraska: Condoleezza Rice Endorses Deb Fischer

Nebraska: Condoleezza Rice Endorses Deb Fischer

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State in the George W. Bush administration, today endorsed state Sen. Deb Fischer in the open-seat Nebraska Senate race against former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.).

“Deb Fischer is an effective legislator who will promote economic competitiveness and private sector growth and will change the current standstill in Washington,”  Rice said in a news release from the Republican’s campaign. “Her fresh perspective will allow her to be a leader in Congress and I’m proud to stand with her in this important race.”

Fischer, who is in a tightening race with Kerrey, was happy to receive Rice’s backing.

“I have deep respect and admiration for Dr. Rice, and I’m truly honored to have her support,” Fischer said in the release. “Dr. Rice understands the importance of maintaining American exceptionalism by advancing our nation’s domestic and international interests.”

Rice’s endorsement of Fischer comes after Kerrey has racked up several notable endorsements, including former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.). Fischer is still favored to win the seat, which is being vacated by retiring Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). Roll Call rates the race as Likely Republican.

Nancy Pelosi Raised $12.9 Million in October

Nancy Pelosi Raised $12.9 Million in October

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi raised an eye-popping $12.9 million in October for House Democrats, a spokesman said.

The California Democrat held 65 fundraising and campaign events in eight states and Washington, D.C. Over the current election cycle, Pelosi has raised $85.1 million.

Pelosi is a powerhouse fundraiser without peer among Congressional Democrats. She has kept up a frenetic campaigning pace even as Democrats, some openly, have speculated she may leave after the elections, especially as the party is not expected to come close to taking back control of the House.

Those who know Pelosi well say she is unlikely to opt for a quick exit, however, preferring to promote a successor she prefers over her second-in-command, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). Pelosi’s spokesman has called that scenario “ridiculous.”

November 2, 2012

Colorado: Presidential Candidates to Cycle Through Battleground Districts

Colorado: Presidential Candidates to Cycle Through Battleground Districts

Rep. Mike Coffman is hoping to get some help from GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's visit to Colorado this weekend. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The contenders in two tight Colorado Congressional races that have attracted national attention and money have embarked on their final push before Election Day. And the homestretch in the Centennial State will bring the top of the ticket from both parties, with President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney scheduling events this weekend.

But for Sal Pace, a Democratic state lawmaker challenging Rep. Scott Tipton (R), the final leg means a few more days in an automobile hopping from town to town in the state’s expansive 3rd district.

“We’ve gotten a couple of flat tires, and there was one near miss with a moose,” said Pace today by phone while driving between events in Grand Junction and Rifle. Then, it was on to Edwards. Full story

Beltway Donors Top Super PAC Givers

Campaign donors from Washington, D.C., have given more money to super PACs in this election cycle than donors from any other city in the United States, according to an analysis released today by MapLight, a nonpartisan group that follows political money.

Inside-the-Beltway donors gave $71.6 million, or 14 percent, of the more than $510 million that super PACs collected through Sept. 30 of this election cycle, MapLight found.

The MapLight ranking belies Washington’s traditional reputation as a relatively marginal center for campaign fundraising. Both GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama have spent more time courting donors in places such as New York City, Dallas and Los Angeles than they have in the nation’s capital.

Unrestricted super PACs, however, appear to be raising large sums from D.C. donors, underscoring how the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling has changed traditional fundraising patterns.

The second-ranking city in terms of super PAC donations was Las Vegas; donors there gave $48.7 million to super PACs, or 9.5 percent of the total. Next came New York City, with donors giving $40.8 million, or just less than 8 percent of the total.

The remaining top-donating cities, in descending order, were Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Little Jackson Hole, Wyo., Detroit and San Francisco. All told, 57 percent of all super PAC donations came from the top 10 cities, MapLight found.

 

Daily Ad Track

This is the post we have been dying to write for months — the meanest, most vicious, most depraved House and Senate political advertisements we were able to track down over the past year.

There is a certain art form to the knock-your-socks-off nasty ad. In this record breaking year, it takes more than ominous music, an indignant voice-over and grainy, unflattering, black-and-white footage to break out of the pack.

But there is a line, and a campaign can go too far. Some ads break through the clutter brilliantly and some have backfired in epic fashion.

For better or worse, the following ads broke through the clutter this year. Daisy, “Harold, call me” and Willie Horton almost seem quaint.

10. Arizona Senate 

Group sponsoring the ad: Jeff Flake for Senate and the National Republican Senatorial Committee

Candidate attacked: Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona (D)

Most awkward employee yearly review ever?

Full story

Indiana: Howey Poll Gives Donnelly Big Edge Over Mourdock

Indiana: Howey Poll Gives Donnelly Big Edge Over Mourdock

Rep. Joe Donnelly led Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock in a new poll. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) led state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) by 11 points in the latest bipartisan survey from Howey Politics Indiana.

Donnelly garnered 47 percent of the vote, while Mourdock had 36 percent in the survey.  A libertarian candidate, Andrew Horning, picked up 6 percent, and 11 percent of voters were undecided.

The new poll comes 10 days after Mourdock’s controversial remark in the candidates’ final debate that pregnancy from rape is something “God intended.” In this new survey, 87 percent of respondents were familiar with that remark.

Full story

Monthly Unemployment Report Beats Expectations

Monthly Unemployment Report Beats Expectations

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigned at the Farm Bureau Center in Doswell, Va., on Thursday. Current polls have President Barack Obama and Romney neck-and-neck in the state. (Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Job growth in October strongly beat expectations Friday, even as the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent in the final report before next week’s elections.

The government reported 171,000 net new jobs last month and revised upward the previous two months by 84,000. The unemployment rate ticked up a tenth of a point, as discouraged workers started to return to the labor force.

The report contained ammunition for both President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney but mostly comes as a relief for a White House with the rate staying below 8 percent for a second straight month and allowing the president to point to strengthening job creation in the final days of the too-close-to call race. Full story

Utah: Matheson Trails Love in New Poll

Utah: Matheson Trails Love in New Poll

Utah Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson trails Republican challenger Mia Love in a new poll. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love could be pulling away from Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson in the race for Utah’s 4th district.

Love led Matheson by 12 points, 52 percent to 40 percent, in a new poll conducted for the Salt Lake Tribune. Just 9 percent of Republicans surveyed backed Matheson, which is not enough in a district Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is expected to carry with ease.

However, the Matheson campaign released a poll Thursday night — just hours ahead of the Tribune poll’s release — that showed him ahead by 2 points.

These two polls can’t both be right, but both national parties have been spending here as if the race is close. Full story

November 1, 2012

Illinois: Bloomberg Super PAC Buys $730K in Airtime for Robert Dold

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s super PAC will back Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.) with $730,000 worth of television ads, according to three GOP sources tracking media buys.

Independence USA PAC’s most recent spot describes Dold as a Member with “courage, independence, results.”

Full story

Nebraska: Bob Kerrey Nabs Chuck Hagel Endorsement

Nebraskans should send former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) back to the Senate on Tuesday because he has a history of working across the aisle and would help end partisan gridlock, former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel said today in endorsing his former colleague.

Some polls have shown the race between Kerrey and Republican Deb Fischer tightening in recent days.

Hagel, who stressed that he is still a Republican, noted that Kerrey has also received endorsements from other Republican former Senators, including Alan Simpson of Wyoming, who co-chaired a commission that proposed cutting the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years. Kerrey has also won the support from New Hampshire’s Warren Rudman, who helped draft the 1980s budget agreement known as the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act. Full story

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