Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 1, 2014

November 18, 2012

Recount Complete, Patrick Murphy’s Lead Over Allen West Increases

After a long-awaited recount of early voting ballots in St. Lucie County was completed Sunday, businessman Patrick Murphy, a Democrat, increased his lead over Republican Rep. Allen B. West and re-declared victory.

West has not conceded the race, which remains uncalled by The Associated Press. But his path to the 113th Congress now looks significantly narrower.

“We will review the results of today’s recount and the other available data to determine how to proceed,” he said in a statement.

“I have been humbled by the support we have received and the hard work of so many to ensure the integrity of this process. We look forward to the report which will be issued by the secretary of State’s auditors this coming week which we hope will shed light on some of the outstanding issues,” West added.

In still-unofficial results — the state of Florida is expected to certify final results soon — Murphy led West by more than 2,000 votes in their contest in the 18th District. St. Lucie County, the site of much of the post-Election Day wrangling, recounted all the early vote ballots over the weekend, which increased Murphy’s margin. St. Lucie County is one of three in the newly configured district.

“Patrick Murphy expanded his lead to over 2,100 votes after Allen West’s latest recount, and now the congressman needs to come to grips with the reality that he lost,” Murphy campaign manager Anthony Kusich said in a statement.

The 18th District race was one of the nastiest and hardest-fought congressional elections of the 2012 cycle.

November 17, 2012

Arizona: Barber Defeats McSally

Democratic Rep. Ron Barber has defeated Republican Martha McSally in the over-time ballot counting for Arizona’s 2nd District, according to The Associated Press.

She is set to hold a news conference Saturday in Tucson.

Barber led McSally by 1,400 votes at the time The Associated Press called the race.

The close margin surprised many in Arizona politics. National Republicans have been quick to credit McSally for making the race so competitive. Still, it was just not enough.

Redistricting improved the district slightly for Democrats but it will likely be a competitive seat for the lifetime of the state’s new congressional map.

Allen West Gets Requested Recount in Post-Election Day Fight

Florida Republican Rep. Allen B. West, trailing his Democratic opponent by about 1,900 votes, won a victory Friday evening when the St. Lucie County Canvassing Board agreed to retabulate all the early votes.

Earlier Friday a judge had declined to force the canvassing board to do just that. Retabulation is a legal term that means the board will, essentially, recount all the early votes, running them through the electronic vote reader again.

The board began the effort this morning at 9 a.m. and is expected to finish today. The county has to issue a final certification of its winners to the state tomorrow.

Earlier in this post-Election Day saga, the county recounted only some of the early votes after it said it would recount all of them. The St. Lucie County supervisor of elections is a Democrat and the West campaign alleged impropriety.

St. Lucie county is one of three in the newly configured 18th District, where West faced off with businessman Patrick Murphy, a democrat. It was one of the nastiest, most bitter, and hard fought congressional races in the country. As the vote count stands now, West trails just outside the 0.5 percent margin that would trigger an automatic recount across the whole district. But there’s the possibility that, if this retabulation narrows the vote margin, a recount could be triggered.

Murphy has declared victory and has been attending freshman orientation on Capitol Hill. The Associated Press has not yet called the race.

Murphy’s team has asked a court to issue an injunction, stopping the retabulation. It’s unclear if that effort will succeed, given that it’s a Saturday.

“The election was conducted the first time properly and legally,” said Murphy advisor Eric Johnson. “Patrick Murphy won outside the percentage for an automatic recount. The canvassing baord does not have the legal authority to operate a recount. They’re operating outside the law.”

Johnson said no matter how this turns out, Murphy is and will be the winner.

West was pleased with the Board’s decision.

“We are pleased the Canvassing Board has done the right thing for the voters of St Lucie County by agreeing to a retabulation of early votes,” Allen West said in a statement. “All we have been fighting for since the very beginning is to ensure the citizens of this county have their votes accurately and fairly counted.”

November 16, 2012

Arizona: Barber Postured to Win Re-Election in 2nd District

Arizona: Barber Postured to Win Re Election in 2nd District

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ballot returns over the past week indicate that Democratic Rep. Ron Barber is on the verge of defeating Republican Martha McSally in Arizona’s 2nd District.

Democrats have been increasingly bullish on the numbers they are seeing for Barber, not just because his margin has increased to 923 votes, but because of the geography of the returns. The outstanding ballots to be counted are in Pima County, home to Tucson, which is Barber’s stronghold.

Even Republicans are beginning to that concede the outlook is grim. There is a sense in Arizona circles that The Associated Press is especially cautious to call this race, which explains why it is one of three races still outstanding after Election Day. The counting is expected to continue into next week. Full story

Priebus Running for Another Term as RNC Chair

Priebus Running for Another Term as RNC Chair

Priebus announced Friday that he is seeking a second term as chairman of the Republican National Committee. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reince Priebus is running for a second two-year term as chairman of the Republican National Committee, he announced in a letter to RNC members.

Priebus, who in the letter claimed the backing of 130 committee members, was credited throughout the past election cycle with rehabilitating the RNC’s reputation among the major donor set and bringing sound management to an organization that was saddled with debt. The RNC had more than $20 million in debt when he took over in early 2011 and was deemed to have been mismanaged by Priebus’ predecessor, Michael Steele. Many Republicans have encouraged him to run for re-election.

But Priebus’ leadership has been questioned by some conservative and GOP activists since the Nov. 6 elections, which saw President Barack Obama handily defeat Mitt Romney for re-election and the Republicans lose two Senate seats despite a favorable playing field. Receiving particular focus were the perceived failings of Romney’s voter turnout operation, jointly led by the RNC through its Victory program. Priebus touted the GOP ground game in his letter to committee members.

“Through all of our hard work and focus we changed course and got our committee back on sound financial footing, breaking fundraising records, and restoring donor trust,” Priebus wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Roll Call. “We deployed a Republican ground game that was the strongest in history.  We harnessed new technology and built upon our outreach efforts, reaching more voters and spreading the Republican message. However, there is still much more that needs to be done to strengthen and grow our Party, and to overcome new challenges we now face.”

Priebus, the Wisconsin GOP chairman in the 2010 cycle, said he was headed out of town Friday for a vacation with his family and planned to reach out to those RNC members he hasn’t spoken with after he returns.

By David M. Drucker Posted at 5:52 p.m.
Republicans, RNC

Judge Rules Against West’s Recount Request

Judge Rules Against Wests Recount Request

West, right, had his recount request denied by a St. Lucie County judge Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A St. Lucie County Judge ruled against Rep. Allen B. West, R-Fla., Friday, denying his request to force the county to recount all of the early ballots.

Earlier, the county recounted only some of the early votes after it said it would recount all of them. The St. Lucie County supervisor of elections is a Democrat and the West campaign alleges impropriety.

But the judge declined to force a recount of all early votes in St. Lucie County, one of three counties that are in the 18th District.

West trails Democrat Patrick Murphy by more than 1,900 votes, according to The Associated Press. Murphy has declared victory and attended freshman orientation on Capitol Hill this week.

Full story

California: Bilbray Concedes to Peters

California: Bilbray Concedes to Peters

Democrat Scott Peters will be the next congressman from California's 52nd District after he defeated an incumbent. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Brian P. Bilbray, R-Calif., has conceded his re-election bid in the 52nd District to Democrat Scott Peters.

Bilbray called Peters Friday to deliver the news, a spokesman said, and released a statement to the press.

Peters, a San Diego port commissioner, led Bilbray by 2,660 votes when counting concluded on Thursday, according to the California secretary of state’s office. His lead grew in the week and a half since Election Day, when the two were separated by fewer than 1,000 votes. Full story

NRCC Took Out $12 Million Loan in October

House Republicans borrowed $12 million in the waning weeks before Election Day, according to a source with knowledge of the transaction.

The National Republican Congressional Committee secured the loan in late October to help fund the final push of TV ads and boost its candidates to victory.

It’s common for the campaign committees to go into debt in a campaign year. But the NRCC’s loan is significantly smaller than the $17 million the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee borrowed in October, according to reports.

There’s some risk to taking out large sums because the committees must pay them back during the next cycle. It often takes parties months, sometimes even more than a year, to get rid of this debt. Full story

November 15, 2012

California: Bera Defeats Lungren

California: Bera Defeats Lungren

Democrat Ami Bera was called the winner of a close election in California on Thursday. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Democrat Ami Bera has officially prevailed over House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren, R-Calif., who becomes the 24th House incumbent to lose in the Nov. 6 elections.

The Associated Press called the race Thursday, more than one week after Election Day, with Bera leading by about 5,700 votes. Vote counting has been slow in the Sacramento-area district, where Bera’s lead on election night was only 184 votes.

With the race in the 7th District called, there are now four outstanding House races. They are in California’s 52nd District, Florida’s 18th District, North Carolina’s 7th District and Arizona’s 2nd District. A fifth race in Louisiana’s 3rd district between two GOP members will be decided in a December runoff. Full story

Tennessee: GOP Leaders Silent as Drip of DesJarlais Headlines Continues

Tennessee: GOP Leaders Silent as Drip of DesJarlais Headlines Continues

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican leaders on Capitol Hill were largely silent as new revelations stemming from Rep. Scott DesJarlais’ messy decade-old divorce came to light Thursday.

The office of Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio declined to comment on a report in the Chattanooga Times Free Press that said the Tennessee lawmaker and doctor had “sexual relationships with at least two patients, three coworkers and a drug representative while he was chief of staff at Grandview Medical Center in Jasper, Tenn.” The paper also reported that records showed DesJarlais “supported his ex-wife’s decision to get two abortions before their marriage.”

The revelations came from DesJarlais’ 2001 sworn testimony from his divorce trial. A staunch social conservative, the freshman Congressman has run for office as an anti-abortion candidate.

At votes Thursday afternoon, DesJarlais was seen having an intense conversation with Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan on the House floor. Jordan is the outgoing chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee. Full story

Israel Taps Ward as New DCCC Executive Director

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York announced Thursday that he has picked Kelly Ward as the committee’s executive director for the 2014 cycle.

Ward served as the DCCC’s political director during the 2012 cycle and as a DCCC regional political director during the 2010 cycle.

“I couldn’t be happier or prouder that Kelly Ward will be our new Executive Director,” Israel said in a statement. “Kelly brings the right mix of smart political instincts and experienced leadership to aggressively take on this Tea Party Republican majority.”

Ward will succeed current Executive Director Robby Mook, who is moving on to run Terry McAuliffe’s gubernatorial campaign in Virginia. Full story

Top DCCC Aide to Run McAuliffe’s Gubernatorial Bid

Top DCCC Aide to Run McAuliffes Gubernatorial Bid

Mook, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's executive director, is moving on to work McAuliffe's gubernatorial campaign. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Executive Director Robby Mook is headed across the Potomac to work on former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe’s nascent Virginia gubernatorial campaign, according to a CNN report.

Mook has been on the political scene for the past decade.

Mook ran the DCCC’s independent expenditure arm in 2010 and has worked for a who’s who of high profile Democratic campaigns. He also has Old Dominion experience; he managed a successful 2005 state delegate campaign.

 

November 14, 2012

Senate Republicans Pick Moran to Run NRSC

Senate Republicans Pick Moran to Run NRSC

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Republicans unanimously elected Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran to serve as chairman of their campaign arm for the 2014 cycle and also named Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas to serve as vice chairmen of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Portman will be vice chairman of finance, and Cruz will be vice chairman for grass roots. Moran was unopposed for the job.

Democrats face a daunting cycle in 2014, when the party must defend 20 seats — many of which are in traditionally conservative states such as Alaska and South Dakota. But the NRSC was plagued by divisive primaries during the past two cycles, costing the party at least five seats. The Senate GOP must win six seats to retake the majority. Full story

Israel Returns for Second Round as Chairman of the DCCC

Israel Returns for Second Round as Chairman of the DCCC

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday to colleagues that the caucus campaign chief, New York Rep. Steve Israel, will stay on for a second cycle.

Israel will run the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee again in 2014.

Pelosi made the impromptu announcement to her colleagues at their morning meeting —much to Israel’s surprise, according to a source. The caucus responded with a standing ovation and cheered, “two more years.”

Israel guided the committee this cycle to pick up seven seats, although a few races have yet to be called.

As long as these gains hold, House Democrats must pick up 18 seats to win the majority in 2014.

Virginia Democrats Look For New Party Chairman

Brian Moran announced Wednesday that he will step down next month as state Democratic Party chairman after one term, and one candidate to replace him has already lined up major support.

State Del. Charniele Herring released a statement within hours of Moran’s announcement that her candidacy for the chairmanship has the backing of Moran and gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The next state party chairman will oversee the 2013 gubernatorial and state legislative elections, as well as the 2014 midterms.

Moran leaves after a cycle in which President Barack Obama carried Virginia and former Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, won the state’s open Senate seat. Moran, the brother of Democratic Rep. James P. Moran, said the party over the past two years “laid the foundation to continue our momentum and elect our candidates in 2013 and beyond.”

Kaine defeated former Gov. George Allen in the Senate race by 6 points and more than 200,000 votes. Allen, who also lost his race for re-election to the Senate in 2006, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Monday that he will not run for public office again.

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