Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 23, 2014

January 30, 2013

Georgia: All Signs Point to Broun Senate Bid

Georgia: All Signs Point to Broun Senate Bid

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GOP Rep. Paul Broun is informing donors that he will enter Georgia’s open-seat Senate race, with an official announcement expected shortly.

Broun appears likely to become the first Republican to enter the race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss. One Georgia GOP operative said late Wednesday that the congressman is calling donors and telling them that he’s running for Senate.

His wife, Niki, spilled the beans Tuesday night, telling a local audience that her husband is running for Senate, according to a report on a website. Niki Broun, according to the story on viralread.com, “stood up in front of the crowd and … declared that not only did her husband have her permission and support to run to be Georgia’s next junior U.S. Senator, but that he was openly announcing his candidacy.” Full story

California: Obama Backs Honda as Primary Threat Looms

President Barack Obama on Monday endorsed Rep. Michael M. Honda, a seven-term Democrat representing a safe district.

“We need Congressman Mike Honda in the United States Congress, and I urge you to vote to keep him there,” Obama said in a statement.

The endorsement comes fewer than three months after the 2012 elections, a remarkably early show of support from the president. But it’s no doubt in reaction to the rumored threat of a primary from attorney Ro Khanna, who has congressional ambitions and a war chest in excess of $1 million.

Khanna had also been rumored to be considering a bid in the neighboring 15th District, where Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell knocked off veteran Democrat Pete Stark last year. That was the first federal election under the state’s new top-two primary format, which allows for members of the same party to face off in the general.

Illinois: Democrats Recruit Judge as Gill Ponders Another Run

Emergency room physician David Gill is considering a fifth House bid — and worrying Democrats who believe he’s had his turn to run.

“I haven’t ruled anything in or out either way,” Gill said in a Tuesday phone interview. “I think it was a good campaign we ran last time.”

Gill narrowly lost to GOP Rep. Rodney Davis in the competitive 13th District last November. Gill’s interest creates a potentially messy situation for Democrats, who are trying to recruit Madison County Circuit Court Chief Judge Ann Callis to run for the seat. Full story

Illinois: Harris Drops Out, Backs Kelly in Special

And then there were 21 … candidates to succeed former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill.

This afternoon, former NFL linebacker Napoleon Harris dropped out of the 2nd District special election and backed fellow Democrat, Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly.

“I believe we need to fight for more educational opportunity, better jobs and to get guns out of the hands of criminals and gangs that are preying on our neighborhoods,” Harris said in a statement from the Kelly campaign. “I believe Robin Kelly is the right candidate to pick up that cause to fight for the people of Chicago and the Southland.”

While the Democratic field remains large and varied, Kelly’s supporters argue this helps her because it puts more of Harris’ geographic base — including the key Thornton Township — in play.

The top tier of candidates includes Alderman Anthony Beale, former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, state Sen. Toi Hutchinson and Kelly. The Feb. 26 Democratic primary winner is expected to come to Congress given the district’s heavy Democratic composition.

Full story

Massachusetts: Patrick Names Cowan as Interim Senator

UPDATED 11:45 a.m. | Massachusetts Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick announced Wednesday that his former chief of staff, William “Mo” Cowan, will serve as the state’s interim senator until a new senator is chosen in a June 25 special election.

“Today I have the great honor, privilege and personal pleasure to appoint Mo Cowan as United States Senator in the interim,” Patrick said at a Boston news conference.

Calling Cowan a “highly-respected public citizen,” Patrick tapped the fellow attorney to fill the seat soon to be vacated by John Kerry. Cowan has served in Patrick’s administration since 2009 and is his former chief of staff and chief legal counsel.

When he takes the oath of office, Cowan will become the second African-American senator currently serving, alongside Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina. Full story

January 29, 2013

FEC Increases Contribution Limits for 2014

The Federal Election Commission increased the limits on contributions that individuals can give to candidates for federal office and national party committees in the 2014 election cycle.

Individual donors can now contribute up to $2,600 to a candidate in both the primary and general elections — $5,200 total — and $32,400 per calendar year to national party committees. The total amount of federal contributions that an individual can give during a two-year cycle also increased to $123,200, including $48,600 to candidates and $74,600 to parties and political action committees. Full story

Illinois: Bloomberg Super PAC Targets Halvorson With Negative Ads

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC has started airing TV ads in Illinois’ 2nd district special election targeting the front-runner’s support for the Second Amendment.

Former Rep. Debbie Halvorson leads a crowded field of Democrats, according to polls released by her opponents’ campaigns this month.

But the super PAC’s ad buy marks a shift in the race for former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s seat on Chicago’s south side. It’s possible none of the candidates, including Halvorson, will raise enough money to air campaign ads in the Windy City’s pricey market. So far, the better-funded campaigns have relied on direct mail to reach voters.

Also, gun control is a major issue in the 2nd district, which includes areas of Chicago that have been greatly affected by a recent wave of gun violence.

Full story

Iowa: Club for Growth Mum on King’s Potential Senate Bid

Iowa: Club for Growth Mum on Kings Potential Senate Bid

Rep. Steve King is rumored to be looking at the competitive Iowa Senate race. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Club for Growth has championed Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, as one of its most ardent House conservatives.

So what does the deep-pocketed and influential group think about King running for Senate in 2014? Not much, yet.

“In general, we don’t take stands on potential Senate races,” spokesman Barney Keller said Tuesday. “When there’s a field, we’ll take a look at the race.”

Full story

Florida: Which Republican Will Challenge Garcia?

Florida: Which Republican Will Challenge Garcia?

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Political ambition has never been in short supply in Miami. So it’s no surprise that there’s already talk in GOP circles of who might be eyeing the seat held by freshman Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia.

Garcia beat Republican David Rivera by more than 10 points in November, while President Barack Obama won the district by about 7 points. But that doesn’t mean the GOP won’t try to make the 2014 race competitive. Rivera was plagued by a series of ethical scandals that, presumably, the 2014 Republican nominee won’t have to contend with.

One top potential GOP candidate for the district — who was often floated as a potential primary challenger to Rivera last year — is state Sen. Anitere Flores. But sources close to Florida Senate leaders tell CQ Roll Call that Flores has assured them she’s not leaving the legislature to run for Congress. Full story

Conservatives Expect Cornyn Primary Challenger

Conservatives Expect Cornyn Primary Challenger

Cornyn has said he is expecting a primary challenge in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:17 p.m. | The founder and director of a grass-roots conservative group said he expects Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, to face a primary challenge. Cornyn is up for re-election in 2014.

“I don’t know how good of a primary challenge he is going to get at this point, but he will get a primary challenge,” said Dean Wright, co-founder and director of New Revolution Now, based in Austin, Texas.

“There is vetting going on,” Wright said, but he did not have any other details. He noted that one possible challenger could be Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is viewed as much more likely to run for governor in 2014. Abbott and Cornyn are known to have a cordial relationship, with Cornyn once touting Abbott as a possible Senate candidate.

“He would, if he did run, most likely bring in the tea party and the conservative grass roots behind him,” Wright said, adding that his group would likely support Abbott.

Abbot came to the national stage in 2005 when he defended before the U.S. Supreme Court, and won, the right of the state to display a Ten Commandments monument on the state capitol grounds.

Still, the idea that Abbott would challenge Cornyn seems far fetched at this point. “Anyone who knows anything about Texas politics knows that Abbott is gearing up to run for governor,” a Texas GOP source said.

Cornyn has said he isn’t taking his seat for granted and is expecting a primary challenge.

Others agree that a challenge could be in the offing, but were skeptical of the challenger winning.

With Cornyn considered “part of the establishment, maybe he’ll draw a primary opponent, but I don’t anticipate any strong opponent,” said a Texas Republican political operative.

A Texas GOP political consultant said there is definitely a segment of the party that wants Cornyn to be challenged, but the movement may be waning, which could help the minority whip retain his seat.

“When it comes to crazies Texas really is a whole different level,” the consultant said. “I’m not sure their thirst can be quenched. He’s preparing for somebody.”

Ohio: Boccieri Plots Comeback to Congress

Ohio: Boccieri Plots Comeback to Congress

Former Rep. John Boccieri has filed to run for Congress in 2014. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. John Boccieri, a Democrat from north-central Ohio, will attempt to return to Congress in 2014.

Boccieri filed paperwork to challenge Republican Rep. Bob Gibbs in the 7th District. But he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Monday that he might also seek Rep. Tim Ryan’s seat if the Democrat retires to run for governor.

Buckeye State Democrats view Boccieri as a strong candidate who could give Gibbs a competitive race in the GOP-leaning 7th District. Meanwhile, Ryan has not ruled out leaving his solidly Democratic seat to run for governor.

Boccieri served in the House for a single term following the 2008 elections, before GOP Rep. James B. Renacci defeated him. In 2012, Republicans redrew Ohio’s congressional boundaries, dividing Boccieri’s former terrain among a few new House districts.

Boccieri did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Shop Talk: NRSC Announces Senior Staff

Shop Talk: NRSC Announces Senior Staff

Dayspring, left, the new National Republican Senatorial Committee communications director, formerly worked for Cantor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee announced its senior staff Tuesday, rounding out an overhaul of leadership for the new cycle as the party aims to win the majority in 2014.

Serving under NRSC Chairman Jerry Moran of Kansas and NRSC Executive Director Rob Collins, who was hired in December, are an array of operatives with both campaign and Capitol Hill experience.

Brad Dayspring, a former top aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., is taking over as communications director. Dayspring replaces Brian Walsh, who served at the NRSC during the past two cycles and has helped out during the transition. Walsh is in the process of opening his own consulting firm. Full story

January 28, 2013

Massachusetts: Markey Calls for the ‘People’s Pledge’

Massachusetts: Markey Calls for the People’s Pledge’

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Edward J. Markey is calling on all candidates who might run in the special election to succeed Sen. John Kerry to urge super PACs and other third-party groups against spending money in the race.

The thing is, Markey was the only declared candidate as of press time.

“People’s pledge” is the term Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Republican Sen. Scott P. Brown used to describe their agreement to eliminate outside spending in their blockbuster 2012 campaign. Full story

GOP Group Urges ‘Tonally Sensitive’ Immigration Messaging

House Republicans on Monday received a list of immigration messaging “dos and don’ts” from the Hispanic outreach arm of a top GOP super PAC, with recommendations focused on urging members to use “tonally sensitive” rhetoric, regardless of their position on the issue.

The Hispanic Leadership Network, affiliated with the American Action Network, says in its emailed memo that conservatives should avoid the “negative tone and harsh rhetoric” that has hurt them in the past as well as make it clear that they celebrate America as a nation of immigrants who have come here “in search of opportunity and a chance at a better future through hard work.” The memo then lays out a list of messaging recommendations House Republicans should follow when discussing immigration overhaul legislation and illegal immigration generally.

Implicit in the memo is the concern that Republicans might further alienate Hispanic voters with insensitive rhetoric as the debate over immigration heats up after Monday’s unveiling in the Senate of a bipartisan framework for legislation. President Barack Obama is expected to speak on the issue Tuesday during a stop in Las Vegas.

Here’s the Hispanic Leadership Network memo:

Full story

New Jersey: Pascrell Opts Out of Gubernatorial Bid

New Jersey: Pascrell Opts Out of Gubernatorial Bid

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. won't run for governor of New Jersey in the upcoming November contest. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. of New Jersey will not be running for governor, despite finding the office “intriguing” in December.

In a joint press release with the Democratic leadership of the three counties he represents, Bergen, Hudson and Passaic, Pascrell announced that he was endorsing state Sen. Barbara Buono for governor.

No other serious Democratic candidate has emerged, and this is a show of establishment support behind Buono.

Should she win her party’s nomination, she will challenge popular Republican Gov. Chris Christie in November of this year.

 

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...