Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 27, 2014

November 6, 2012

Ohio: Sherrod Brown Holds On to Senate Seat

Ohio: Sherrod Brown Holds On to Senate Seat

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) will return to Congress for a second term, according to the Associated Press. He defeated state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R).

Thanks to inroads the GOP made during the 2010 midterms, Brown was viewed as one of the most vulnerable incumbents this year. But his political skills proved dogged, and he seemed to have the upper hand for most of the cycle.

Debbie Stabenow, Bob Casey Will Return to Senate

Debbie Stabenow, Bob Casey Will Return to Senate

Sen. Bob Casey won re-election today. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Sens. Bob Casey (Pa.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) will return to the Senate, according to Associated Press projections.

Stabenow seemed vulnerable early in the cycle. But her opponent, former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R), was never able to recover from a controversial television ad. President Barack Obama also proved to have strong coattails in Michigan, and the race was soon moved out of competitive categories.

Casey, however, got his scare at the end of the cycle. His self-funded opponent, Republican Tom Smith, was able to narrow the margin but couldn’t get across the finish line.

President Barack Obama Wins Re-Election

President Barack Obama Wins Re Election

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

11:15 p.m. | President Barack Obama has defeated Mitt Romney and won re-election, capping the most expensive and divisive national campaign in memory, according to network news and Associated Press projections.

The president’s victory — built on key swing states including Ohio, Wisconsin and New Hampshire — will give him a second term in a deeply divided nation, and he will be facing a similar lineup in Congress, which has thwarted the bulk of his agenda for the past two years.

Obama’s victory was sealed by the critical state of Ohio — the focus of both candidates for months — where Romney, his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Vice President Joseph Biden all made appearances on Election Day.

 

Updated 10:57 p.m. | At Republican and Democratic election night events in Washington, D.C., Democrats seemed to be having the better time.

With President Barack Obama racking up wins in battleground states and Mitt Romney yet to put one away, the Republican National Committee party at the Ronald Reagan Building seemed to be thinning out after 10 p.m. At one point, a smattering of applause rang through the hall when Fox News announced Romney won Utah.

Attendees seemed to be clinging to any good news after announcements that Democrats won Senate seats in Massachusetts and Indiana. But they soldiered on, holding out hope despite the fact that it’s a cash bar. Full story

Kentucky: Rep. Ben Chandler Loses to Attorney Andy Barr

Kentucky Rep. Ben Chandler, a conservative Blue Dog Democrat, lost tonight to Lexington attorney Andy Barr (R).

With 98.7 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press called the race for Barr. He took 50.5 percent to Chandler’s 46.8 percent.

Chandler beat Barr by 647 votes in 2010, the third-closest House race in the nation.

But this cycle Barr had a new playbook. He focused, especially in the waning months, on tying Chandler to President Barack Obama — who is deeply unpopular in Kentucky — and focusing on issues related to coal, which is important to a big swath of the newly configured 6th district.

Chandler, for his part, had a similar strategy to 2010, but he started pushing out ads on coal issues after Barr began advertising on the topic. That’s when internal polls began to show Chandler slipping.

And he never recovered.

Chandler could be the first of many conservative Democrats to be defeated tonight.

Connecticut: Christopher Murphy Defeats Linda McMahon

Connecticut: Christopher Murphy Defeats Linda McMahon

(Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Christopher Murphy (D) defeated former WWE CEO Linda McMahon for Connecticut’s open-seat race tonight, according to the Associated Press.

The race was of great concern to national Democrats early in the fall, but all along they insisted that when the party competed with McMahon’s personal spending on the TV airwaves, Murphy would get breathing room.

McMahon went to extraordinary efforts to tie herself to President Barack Obama, but that effort proved unsuccessful. This was her second run for the Senate. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) defeated her in 2010. For the two runs, McMahon ultimately spent nearly $100 million from her personal fortune.

 

 

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson Easily Wins Re-Election, Defeats Republican Connie Mack IV

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson Easily Wins Re Election, Defeats Republican Connie Mack IV

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) easily won a third term tonight, beating Rep. Connie Mack IV (R), according to the Associated Press.

Nelson, who has managed to sustain a strong bipartisan appeal in Florida despite voting with Democrats most of the time in Washington, D.C., was always favored in his race with Mack.

The Congressman, son of former Florida Sen. Connie Mack III, was a weak candidate who at times seemed more focused on bashing Florida’s top political reporters than painting a contrast with Nelson. And he never raised the kind of money he would have needed to compete in the state’s exorbitantly expensive media markets.

The Senator, meanwhile, just kept plodding along and used his substantial war chest to hammer Mack in TV ads.

It’s not yet clear whether President Barack Obama will win the Sunshine State tonight, as he did in 2008. But, in polling, Nelson has always significantly outperformed Obama in the state. Nelson’s margin was likely among unmarried white women and independent voters, groups in which he comfortably ran ahead of the president.

Independent Angus King Wins Maine Senate Race

Independent Angus King Wins Maine Senate Race

(Joshua Miller/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Popular former Maine Gov. Angus King (I) tonight comfortably won the Pine Tree State’s open Senate seat, currently held by moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, who is retiring.

The Associated Press called the race. King beat Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers (R) and state Sen. Cynthia Dill (D).

King hasn’t said with which party he will caucus, but he is widely expected to cast his vote for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). The National Republican Senatorial Committee spent a not insignificant amount of money against King, lobbing potent attack ads his way. National GOP third-party groups also tried to knock King down and boost Summers.

Full story

John Boehner to Address RNC Party

John Boehner to Address RNC Party

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John Boehner will address the crowd at the Republican National Committee party in Washington, D.C., tonight according to a late news release from his office.

The Ohio Republican’s comments will come around 9:50 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, after remarks from RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas).

Although many elections results should be in by that time, it is unlikely the presidential race will be decided by that hour. As a result, it remains unclear what tack Boehner will take in his speech. In recent interviews from the campaign trail, Boehner has been saying he wants to delay until the new year several issues that Congress could consider during the lame-duck session and that he sees raising tax rates on the highest earners — a stated priority of the Obama administration — as a nonstarter.

Senate Update: Democrats Retain Majority

Senate Update: Democrats Retain Majority

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 12:37 a.m. | As Election Day folded into Nov. 7, the only question remaining in the fight for the Senate was the size of the Democratic majority.

Democrats were looking at a net gain of two seats, with just two Democratic-held seats and one Republican seat left to be called. That meant the Democratic majority could be no lower than 53-47, exactly where it was at the beginning of the cycle.

“When we started this campaign, no one, and I mean no one gave us a chance.  But we went out and built the best Senate campaigns in the history of the country,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (Wash.) said in a statement. “We recruited some of the highest quality candidates, including a record number of women. Democrats never let up, and now we will retain our majority in the United States Senate.”

The Associated Press called the Wisconsin Senate race after midnight, with Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) topping former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) for the seat of retiring Sen. Herb Kohl (D). That left two Democratic-held seats yet to be called: in Montana, where Sen. Jon Tester (D) faced Rep. Denny Rehberg (R), and in North Dakota, where former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) faced Rep. Rick Berg (R) for the seat of retiring Sen. Kent Conrad (D).

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller (R) was looking to hold on against Rep. Shelley Berkley (D), even as President Barack Obama carried the state.

 

Updated 11:25 p.m. | Democrats will retain control of the Senate.

Tim Kaine’s (D) victory in Virginia and Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-Mo.) re-election took two more pickup opportunities off the map for Republicans and left the GOP without enough states left to complete its quest for the majority.

With the presidential contest now called for President Barack Obama, Democrats would control the Senate even in the event of a 50-50 tie, as Vice President Joseph Biden would cast the deciding vote. Full story

House Update: GOP Holds Majority as Incumbents on Both Sides Fall

House Update: GOP Holds Majority as Incumbents on Both Sides Fall

From left: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and DCCC Chairman Steve Israel address the crowd at a Democratic election night party in Washington, D.C. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:45 a.m. | House Republicans were wiped out in the Northeast in Tuesday’s elections, especially in New England, where there won’t be a single GOP Member returning to Congress next year.

A Democratic duo, former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter and attorney Ann McLane Kuster, won House seats in New Hampshire. Meanwhile, Reps. John Tierney (D-Mass.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) fended off tough challenges from GOP opponents. Former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty narrowly won an open-seat race in Connecticut’s 5th district, holding the seat for Democrats.

In the Empire State, two Republican freshmen lost re-election: Nan Hayworth and Ann Marie Buerkle. Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.), who won a special election last year, lost her bid for a full term, marking one of her party’s only disappointments in the region.

Full story

Sheriff Sees No Signs of Political Motivation in Pelosi Burglary

Sheriff Sees No Signs of Political Motivation in Pelosi Burglary

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There were no signs of a political motive for a break-in Monday at one of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s California homes, Capt. Tracey Stuart, a spokeswoman for the Napa County Sheriff’s Office, told Roll Call.

The perpetrators did not vandalize the residence or leave behind anything that pointed to a motive beyond burglary, Stuart said. There was nothing obviously missing, although the Pelosis have not been at the residence to check if anything is gone. Their belongings had been rifled through to “some” degree, Stuart said.

Police were alerted to the break-in by an alarm system at 2:53 p.m. Monday. Arriving on the scene, they found two glass doors broken, one to the main residence and a second to the pool house.

The house that was broken into was in St. Helena, Calif., in the heart of wine country in the Napa Valley.

Pelosi’s office did not reply to a request for comment. The Napa Valley Register first reported the incident.

Voters Face Language Barriers in Virginia, New Mexico

After months of courting, some Spanish-speaking voters encountered problems casting a ballot today.

Voters exiting the Bailey’s Community Center in Falls Church, Va., one of Northern Virginia’s more ethnically diverse areas, said the morning was particularly challenging for elderly and Hispanic voters.

Speaking in broken English, Manuel Matamoros, a middle-aged Hispanic man, said a poll worker declined to help him with comprehension questions about the ballot — assistance he had no trouble getting in 2008.

Full story

‘Massive Confusion’ in Pennsylvania, New Jersey a ‘Hot Bed’ of Problems

A representative from the nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition told Roll Call this afternoon that there were reports of “massive confusion” in Pennsylvania, voting-machine problems in Ohio, long lines in southern Virginia, technical problems in Texas and difficulties in New Jersey.

Tanya House, one of the attorneys working with the group, said there are reports that voters in Pennsylvania are showing up at the polls and being told they need photo identification, even though a recent court ruling delayed implementation of the commonwealth’s new voter ID law until after Election Day. Voters there were also receiving mailings as late as Friday that referenced the need for a photo ID.

“Massive confusion in Pennsylvania,” House said. “The state did not do a good job about informing people that they do not have to show photo ID in order to vote. Poll workers are telling them they do and people are being turned away.”

The coalition has received multiple reports of issues with voting machines in Ohio. Voters at multiple precincts there are being directed to cast emergency ballots because of technical problems. The coalition is concerned that these ballots are being placed in the same boxes as provisional ballots, which won’t be counted until 10 days after Election Day.

Though lines in the Virginia suburbs around Washington, D.C., had subsided by midday, House said there were reports of long lines in the southern part of the state.

And near Galveston, Texas, House said there were multiple reports that polling places did not open on time because workers had improperly booted up machines. “Clearly that’s not a voter error, that’s an administrative error” that needs to be remedied, House said.

She also said New Jersey, where voters are struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, is a “hot bed” of reported problems.

The coalition is “trying to get someone on the ground there to assist” voters who are having trouble sending ballots by email and who are being evacuated from their towns on the day they are supposed to vote, House said.

New Jersey announced earlier today that as long as voters requested an application for a mail-in ballot by email or fax by 5 p.m. today, county clerks will continue processing those requests until Friday at noon. The voter must return the special ballot by fax, email or to the appropriate county board of elections by 8 p.m. Friday.

K Street Lobbying for Votes

Empty offices. Lobbyists scattered across the country volunteering on campaigns. This is K Street on Election Day.

Take the Podesta Group. Many of the bipartisan firm’s staffers spent the day working at phone banks from Arizona to Virginia or knocking on doors, urging voters to turn out.

“I did phones this morning, then I walked some neighborhoods as well,” said Arlington, Va., resident Josh Holly, a principal at the lobby firm.

Full story

New York Voters Compare New System to ‘Third-World Country’

Even as some New York City residents waited in lines to take buses to the polls, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today there’s a bigger problem: the state’s new voting machines.

“The system that we now have in place, instead of you going to one place to get your card and then into a booth, you go to one place, you get a folder, a card, a ballot, then you have to go to another place to fill it out while people look over your shoulder, then you’ve got to go to another place to stick that piece of paper into a scanning machine,” Bloomberg said at a news conference.

Bloomberg said he encountered delays and confusion at his own polling place today, with many voters unsure of the traffic flow to voting machines and the extra steps required to cast a ballot.

“They were just stunned, and I kept hearing, ‘What’s this, a third-world country?’” Bloomber said. “We did have machines incidentally that worked; they worked fine. You could go in, you closed the curtain behind you, you pulled the levers.”

Full story

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