Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 28, 2015

July 23, 2013

Super PAC Launches New Ad Against McConnell #KYSEN

A Democratic super PAC is up with a new TV ad targeting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, part of a media campaign that will run through Election Day 2014.

The Senate Majority PAC ad is running statewide with a buy size of nearly $270,000, according to a spokesman. It plays up the label national Democrats are attaching to McConnell in an effort to defeat him next year: “guardian of gridlock.”

The goal is for voters to see McConnell as someone solely focused on obstructing government, rather than on his home state.

“He calls himself the guardian of gridlock, grinding the Senate to a halt, even when it hurts Kentucky,” the ad’s announcer says.

Full story

July 22, 2013

Nunn to Announce Senate Candidacy Tuesday #GASEN

Democrats will finally and officially have their candidate in the party’s top pickup opportunity on Tuesday, when Michelle Nunn announces her campaign for Senate in Georgia.

Nunn, the daughter of Democratic former Sen. Sam Nunn, will enter the race for the open seat that her father once held, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday night.

“Part of what I bring to the table, and what Georgians are eager for, is coming together,” Nunn said in an interview with the newspaper. “They’re tired of the partisanship, tired of what feels like political infighting versus actually trying to accomplish things.” Full story

Senate Republicans Dial for Dollars En Masse

Senators dialed for dollars during a NRSC fundraising drive last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Twenty-six senators raced in and out of the Ronald Reagan Republican Center last week with varying enthusiasm for a most-often-dreaded, but necessary, activity: fundraising.

Inside the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s marathon call day, even the GOP’s weakest fundraisers were on hand to dial for dollars to help the party gain the net six seats necessary to win the majority.

“I’m not real good at it, asking people to give money,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who had one of the lowest fundraising hauls in the second quarter. “But I do, because it’s just part of it. People are nice when you talk to them. They understand the process.”

South Dakota Sen. John Thune made it look easy. He strolled in just after a vote, took a seat toward the back and placed a plastic cup of lemonade and bag of Nutter Butter cookies on the table. With the phone to his ear, he leaned back in his chair and said, “Hey, Al, how’s it going?” Al did much of the talking.

More than half of the caucus stopped in July 18 to fundraise for the NRSC, and CQ Roll Call was given exclusive access to the marathon call session.

The effort to get more senators personally involved was intended, in part, to help reverse a trend. Recently, Democrats have been far more generous in committee donations out of their personal campaign accounts.

In the 2012 cycle, 20 of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s top 25 largest contributors were senators’ campaigns, and they gave a total of $8.6 million, according to figures compiled by Political MoneyLine. By comparison, nine of the NRSC’s top 25 contributors were senators’ campaigns and collectively gave just more than $1 million. Many of the GOP’s top donations came from joint fundraising committees.

Full story

EMILY’s List Puts 6 House Candidates ‘On the List’

EMILY’s List announced their preliminary support for six new female House candidates from across the country on Monday.

The organization, which supports female Democratic candidates who back abortion rights, stopped short of giving the contenders their full endorsements.

But the following candidates have been placed “On the List,” giving them access to EMILY’s List’s fundraising and grass-roots supporters:

Full story

Al Gore Takes Sides in Senate Primary #HISEN

Gore endorsed a candidate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Over the weekend, former Vice President Al Gore waded into the most competitive Democratic Senate primary of the cycle.

Gore endorsed appointed Sen. Brian Schatz, who faces Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in what’s expected to be a close race next year in Hawaii. They’re both vying to fill the remaining two years of the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye’s term. Full story

July 21, 2013

The Grimes Road Map to Defeat Mitch McConnell

For Democrats to win statewide in Kentucky, they must run up the score in urban areas without turning off voters in the state’s agricultural and coal counties. That’s as hard as it sounds — especially when a candidate can be painted by the competition as unsupportive of coal, one of the state’s crucial economic engines.

Exit Ashley Judd; enter Alison Lundergan Grimes. Full story

House GOP Adds 9 Vulnerable Incumbents to Patriot Program

Miller is a new member in the NRCC's incumbent retention program. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee will announce Monday that it has added nine members to its vulnerable incumbent program for the 2014 cycle, according to information provided exclusively to CQ Roll Call.

The Patriot program provides fundraising and communications support to incumbents who meet certain NRCC benchmarks in their re-election campaigns. The nine Patriot program additions join 11 House Republicans whom the NRCC already deemed vulnerable.

Full story

July 19, 2013

Lt. Gov. Candidate Mulls Race Switch to Challenge Griffin #AR02

Griffin might have a new challenger soon. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Little Rock School Board President Dianne Curry, a Democrat who announced a bid for Arkansas’ lieutenant governor’s race in June, is considering switching races to challenge Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., instead.

“I’m going to consider it,” Curry told CQ Roll Call on Friday afternoon. “I’m putting my feelers out as we speak, and talked with the people who are close to me, that are in support of me, and now and I will … make some kind of decision as to whether or not I will pivot to the other race or not.”

Full story

Wasserman Schultz, Crowley Fundraise for Vulnerable Democrats

Wasserman Schultz is fundraising for candidates. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic National Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., will host a fundraiser next week to help endangered House Democrats, according to an invitation obtained by CQ Roll Call. Full story

Senate Democrats Beat GOP in June Fundraising

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $1.5 million more than its GOP counterpart in June, bringing in a total of $3 million more during the second quarter, according to figures released by the parties on Friday.

The DSCC raked in some $5.3 million last month, but the committee did not release its cash-on-hand or debt figures. As of May 31, the DSCC had $9.6 million in the bank and was carrying $12.5 million in debt, according to its June report to the Federal Election Commission. Full story

Enzi Clobbers Cheney in First Public Poll of Primary #WYSEN

Enzi has a primary this cycle from the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new poll shows Sen. Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., with a considerable lead over his primary opponent, just days after Liz Cheney announced she would challenge him.

Enzi led Cheney, 55 percent to 21 percent, in a survey from Harper Polling, a Republican firm.

Full story

By Emily Cahn Posted at 12:49 p.m.

Another Super PAC Ad Targets Grimes #KYSEN

A Republican super PAC is taking another swipe on the airwaves at the Kentucky Democrat challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, which launched its first ad against Alison Lundergan Grimes on June 25, is up with a new ad tying the Kentucky secretary of state to President Barack Obama and the national party. The group spent $270,000 to run the spot statewide on cable and broadcast, according to a released statement.

“Obamacare; the war on coal; big spending; higher taxes. That’s Obama’s platform, and Alison Lundergan Grimes supports it,” says the ad’s announcer. Full story

July 18, 2013

Shane Osborn on Steak, Football and Being ‘Beautiful’ | The Candidate #NESEN

Osborn is running for Senate in Nebraska. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Every year, scores of congressional candidates visit the CQ Roll Call offices to meet with reporters and Contributing Editor Stuart Rothenberg. This feature, “The Candidate,” will ask these congressional hopefuls five questions about their campaigns. Responses and questions have been edited and condensed.

The candidate: Former Nebraska Treasurer Shane Osborn, a Republican
The member: Retiring GOP Sen. Mike Johanns
The state: Nebraska has voted Republican in all but one presidential election since 1936.
The candidate’s team: Dave Boomer (campaign manager), Brad Todd of OnMessage Inc. (media and general consultant), Sam Fischer of Meridian (direct mail), Dean Dennhardt (finance)

1. Governors, including one in your own state, are turning down opportunities to be one of 100 in the Senate. As someone with a record of running things on your own, why does it interest you?

All my life passions have been fixing things that were broken, and I can’t think of anything more broken than the U.S. Congress.

2. You’re running in part on your credentials as an elected state treasurer. Why would that make you a good senator?

The biggest problem America faces in the future is problems with the debt. My background can provide great value in the U.S. Senate as we try to get the country back on track.

3. What’s the best thing about, or favorite place to go, in your hometown of Waterloo?

Farmer Browns Steak House. You can get a huge steak for $11 or $12.

4. You attended the University of Nebraska on an ROTC scholarship. How are they going to do in football this year?

I think we’ll continue to improve, but our defense is going to have to step up this year. My junior and senior years [1994 and 1995] we won back-to-back championships.

5. Not many candidates can say this: You were featured in People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in 2001, fresh off playing a central role as a naval aviator in an international incident between the United States and China. How did that come about, and can you talk about the experience?

People did a whole thing on the crew called, “Born to Fly,” which is what I titled my book. They took a bunch of pictures, and then there it was. … By the time I got back, there were copies hung up all over the base. While some people may like to be named in People’s “Most Beautiful” list, I took a beating. [Editor’s note: Osborn was flying a combat mission in Afghanistan following 9/11 on the night of People’s gala to celebrate the issue in New York.]

House Democrats Land Michigan Recruit #MI07

Democratic former state Rep. Pam Byrnes announced Thursday she’ll challenge Republican Rep. Tim Walberg in Michigan’s 7th District.

“Washington is broken and Rep. Tim Walberg is part of the problem,” Byrnes said in a release. “Michigan’s middle-class is paying the price for his partisan politics that put special interests and corporation before working families.”

The recruit, and the district, had not previously been prominent going into the 2014 cycle. Mitt Romney carried the district by 3 points in 2012, while President Barack Obama carried it by the same margin in 2008. This race is rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Byrnes was a member of the state House until 2010, when she was term-limited out of office. She lost a state Senate bid that cycle, according to

July 17, 2013

Democrats Eye Baucus Aide for House Seat #MTAL

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is eyeing Sen. Max Baucus’ state director to run for Montana’s at-large seat.

John Lewis, a top aide to the Montana Democrat, has met with DCCC Chairman Steve Israel to discuss a campaign, according to two Democratic sources.

Baucus is retiring, and the at-large seat’s current member, GOP Rep. Steve Daines, is seriously thinking about running for his Senate seat. The House race is currently rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Full story

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