Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 25, 2014

October 17, 2012

Democratic PAC Targets Indiana, Michigan, Colorado, California

The Democratic-affiliated group House Majority PAC today announced four new ads fulfilling an earlier-announced buy.

Three of the ads begin airing today, while one begins airing Thursday.

In its first foray into Indiana’s open 2nd district, House Majority PAC hits former state Rep. Jackie Walorski (R) on her position on women’s health care. She is favored in her race against Iraq War veteran Brendan Mullen (D).

This ad, which begins today, is backed by $175,000 over one week in the South Bend media market: Full story

October 16, 2012

DCCC’s Latest Round of TV Buys Includes First Spending for Louise Slaughter, Kathy Hochul

The independent expenditure arm of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee today made a new round of television ad buys in seven districts, including two New York seats where the DCCC has not previously purchased air time.

With three weeks to go before Election Day, the DCCC and the National Republican Congressional Committee have been shifting money away from races that appear less competitive and toward ones that now pop a little brighter on the committees’ radars.

According to a Democratic source with knowledge of the buys, the DCCC has placed new advertising dollars on broadcast TV in the following districts: Full story

John Boehner to Boost Candidates in Iowa, Illinois

John Boehner to Boost Candidates in Iowa, Illinois

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John Boehner will be in Iowa campaigning for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday, and he also plans to fundraise for two House challengers while he’s in the state.

Ben Lange and John Archer, who are running against Democratic incumbents in Iowa’s 1st and 2nd districts, respectively, will get a boost from the Speaker.

The Ohio Republican will start the day with a fundraising luncheon in Davenport for Archer, a lawyer who is running against Rep. Dave Loebsack (D). The event will be held at the Davenport Country Club, and donations range from $250 to $1,000 a person, according to the Quad-City Times. Full story

Missouri: Claire McCaskill Internal Poll Shows 14-Point Lead

Missouri: Claire McCaskill Internal Poll Shows 14 Point Lead

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new internal poll from Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill’s campaign showed her with an expanding lead over GOP Rep. Todd Akin.

The poll had McCaskill leading by 14 points, 52 percent to Akin’s 38 percent, a substantial increase over the last internal numbers released from the same pollster, which showed her with a 9-point lead.

The tracking survey, which pollster Kiley & Co. said was finished this evening, suggested McCaskill’s campaign is succeeding in driving up the unfavorable perception of Akin. Her campaign has launched an aggressive effort to attack the Republican on an assortment of policy issues, highlighted by last week’s ads that featured victims of sexual assault criticizing Akin’s position against emergency birth control.

Full story

California: Brad Sherman Up Big in Internal Poll

California: Brad Sherman Up Big in Internal Poll

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

California Rep. Brad Sherman led by 25 points in an internal poll released today and taken just after his infamous debate with fellow Democratic Rep. Howard Berman.

The poll illustrated that the heated event apparently has had little effect on this costly Member-vs.-Member race, at least in the immediate aftermath. The poll found Sherman ahead 51 percent to 26 percent, with 24 percent undecided. That’s not far from where the Sherman campaign’s internal polling had the race in July. Full story

Crossroads GPS Announces $5 Million Ad Buy in Seven States

Karl Rove’s powerful Crossroads GPS is set to go on the air for one week to attack a half-dozen Democratic Senate candidates and one Democratic-leaning Independent, at a total cost of $5 million.

According to the group, the ads will run against Rep. Joe Donnelly in Indiana, former Gov. Angus King in Maine, Sen. Jon Tester in Montana, Rep. Shelley Berkley in Nevada, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, former Gov. Tim Kaine in Virginia and Rep. Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin.

“From tax hikes to reckless spending, these liberal politicians are rubber-stamps for the out-of-touch policies which have resulted in an anemic economy and fewer jobs,” Crossroads GPS Director of State and Regional Media Relations Nate Hodson said in a statement. “Crossroads hopes to prevent the higher taxes and more government these politicians support from continuing to hinder the economic recovery we need.”

Roll Call has learned the $5 million buy breaks down as follows (with links to the spots as posted online): Full story

Daily Ad Track

About a month ago, Roll Call published a story about how operatives adjusted their TV messaging in anticipation of ad inundation. This week, the New York Times and Ad Age have stellar pieces that dig deep into the economic implications of the nationwide ad blitz. Each article explains how it is getting harder and harder for ads to break through the clutter.

Here are the ones that are worth highlighting in that endeavor today:

Wisconsin Senate

This spot, courtesy of the Service Employees International Union, is one of the best ads of the cycle. Sure, it makes a point that surfaces in a lot of ads — a politician puts his personal gains over those of his home district or state. But what separates this ad from all of the others is how the images and depressing narration are set to an almost sarcastic sounding version of the University of Wisconsin fight song “On Wisconsin.” SEIU put $600,000 behind the ad.

Full story

California: NRCC On the Air for Mary Bono Mack

California: NRCC On the Air for Mary Bono Mack

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The National Republican Congressional Committee hit the airwaves this week on behalf of California Rep. Mary Bono Mack.

It’s the committee’s first independent expenditure in this competitive race. The 36th district was not among either national party committee’s original TV reservations, but the race has now emerged as a battleground.

The NRCC ad ties physician Raul Ruiz to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Medicare cuts and job losses. “Raul Ruiz might be a doctor, but Nancy Pelosi is already writing his prescriptions,” the ad’s announcer says. Full story

Rand Paul Enters Fray in Missouri, at Least a Little

Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) PAC is adding Missouri to the list of states where it has created an ad against Democratic Senators opposing his effort to curb U.S. aid to Egypt, Libya and Pakistan.

The ad against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) circulated on YouTube today. It could be a small boon for the beleaguered campaign of challenger Rep. Todd Akin (R). Paul has previously put up similar ads with money behind them targeting Senators in West Virginia, Ohio and Florida.

Full story

Unions Unleash Ads in New Hampshire, Wisconsin

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Service Employees International Union have launched ad campaigns totaling almost $2 million in two tight statewide races in New Hampshire and Wisconsin.

The New Hampshire campaign features a $1.3 million joint ad by AFSCME and SEIU assailing GOP gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne as a “radical” who “wants to end Medicare as we know it.”

Polls show Lamontagne statistically tied with Democrat Maggie Hassan in the open-seat gubernatorial contest. The joint ad targeting Lamontagne will run in the Boston-Manchester market between now and Election Day. Full story

Hawaii: Don Young Backs Linda Lingle After Supporting Mazie Hirono, Pushes Oil Exploration

Hawaii: Don Young Backs Linda Lingle After Supporting Mazie Hirono, Pushes Oil Exploration

Rep. Don Young of Alaska is endorsing former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) is endorsing former Gov. Linda Lingle (R) in the race to fill Hawaii’s open Senate seat, even though he appeared in an ad backing Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) during primary season.

Young made the announcement in a letter on Monday, endorsing Lingle because her victory — as unlikely as it seems to be — could help Republicans take control of the Senate. The campaign is not close, with polling showing Lingle trailing Hirono by double digits. But it continues to generate strange side stories far from the mainland.

“As the only noncontiguous states in the union, Alaska and Hawaii are connected through a unique set of issues facing each state. Energy is on the minds of both Alaskans and Hawaiians,” Young wrote. “Harry Reid and his cohorts — continue to stand in the way of responsible development of Alaska’s resources.”

Full story

Pennsylvania: Tom Smith Closing In on Bob Casey

Pennsylvania: Tom Smith Closing In on Bob Casey

Sen. Bob Casey doesn't have as large of a lead as he had in earlier polls. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Bob Casey’s Republican challenger continues to close the gap with the incumbent in two new polls.

A new Quinnipiac University poll released this morning found the Pennsylvania Democrat leading Tom Smith, a former coal company executive, by only 3 points in a horse-race matchup, 48 percent to 45 percent, among likely voters, with 7 percent undecided. That’s down from the 18-point lead Casey held in a Quinnipiac University survey from August.

In a Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll released Monday, Casey led Smith by 2 points, 41 percent to 39 percent, with 18 percent of those likely voters polled undecided. That’s down from Casey’s double-digit lead in a September Muhlenberg College poll. Pennsylvania does not permit early voting, allowing a candidate who surges late to be competitive on Election Day.

Full story

October 15, 2012

Connecticut: SEIU Gives Elizabeth Esty Post-Primary Support

The Service Employees International Union Connecticut State Council endorsed Democrat Elizabeth Esty on Monday in the 5th district.

“We endorse Elizabeth Esty for Congress because our members are confident she will stand up and fight the radical right wing tea party agenda,” said Paul Filson, director of the SEIU’s state branch. “We know she will champion rights for workers and their families. She will fight to protect the promise of Social Security and Medicare. She will push for common sense investments in education, services and vital infrastructure improvements for Connecticut’s 5th Congressional district.”

While at first glance it would seem unremarkable that a union endorsed a Democrat, the unions strongly backed state Speaker Christopher Donovan in the Democratic primary.

According to an August Hartford Courant article, Esty “hasn’t always agreed with labor’s agenda,” and a decision to sit out this race would “undercut the Democratic Party.”

Esty is in a tough general election battle with state Sen. Andrew Roraback, a moderate Republican.

Roll Call rates this race as Leans Democratic.

California: Democratic Polls Offer the Party Good News

California: Democratic Polls Offer the Party Good News

Raul Ruiz, Democratic candidate for California's 36th district, speaks during his campaign rally in Palm Desert on Saturday. Ruiz is running to unseat GOP Rep. Mary Bono Mack. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two internal Democratic polls released today offered the party good news in both defensive and offensive territory in California.

In the Palm Springs-based 36th district, the campaign of physician Raul Ruiz (D) released a poll that found him ahead of Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R), 46 percent to 43 percent, with 9 percent undecided. The poll also offered this encouraging sign: President Barack Obama led Republican nominee Mitt Romney by 5 points. Full story

Nevada: Harry Reid Ridicules Danny Tarkanian’s Financial Woes

Nevada: Harry Reid Ridicules Danny Tarkanians Financial Woes

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid criticized the finances of GOP nominee Danny Tarkanian (above), who is running in Nevada's 4th district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 7:12 p.m. | Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) continued in his chosen role of Democratic attack dog today, this time entering the fray in a House campaign in Nevada and criticizing GOP nominee Danny Tarkanian’s finances.

Following a failed real estate deal, Tarkanian and his family are facing a $17 million judgement from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Tarkanian has said his family is the victim of fraud in the California project. Reid, however, has other ideas. He called the real estate deal a “ridiculous loan.”

“His judgment was so bad that he gambled and lost his family’s entire nest egg because he failed to do his homework,” Reid said on a conference call today.

Full story

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