Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 2, 2014

November 8, 2012

John Thune Seeks Re-Election as Conference Chairman

John Thune Seeks Re Election as Conference Chairman

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After considering other posts within the Senate Republican leadership, Sen. John Thune (S.D.) today said he would run for re-election as Republican Conference chairman.

“America continues to face enormous challenges and the consequences have never been greater,” Thune said in a release. “Our country is at a crossroads and communicating our positive Republican vision to grow the economy, create jobs, and restore our nation’s fiscal health couldn’t be more important. Senate Republicans have solutions and we will work hard to aggressively take our message directly to the American people.”

Full story

November 7, 2012

Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kelly, Ron Barber to Confront Jared Lee Loughner at Sentencing

When Jared Lee Loughner appears in court Thursday for his sentencing, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) will be there to see it. Giffords’s husband, Mark Kelly, plans to directly address the man who seriously injured his wife and killed six people, ABC News reported Wednesday evening.

Others survivors expected to speak include Rep. Ron Barber, who was an aide to Giffords and replaced her in the House, and former Giffords aide Pam Simon.

KPHO in Phoenix reported that shooting survivor Mavy Stoddard also plans to be among those to confront Loughner, who reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in August that spared him the death penalty. He is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Ann Kirkpatrick Wins in Arizona; Six House Races Still Outstanding

It’s official: Former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) is coming back to Congress.

She led GOP rival Jonathan Paton by about 7,000 votes at the time the Associated Press called the race late on Wednesday afternoon.

Redistricting improved the district for Democrats, but Kirkpatrick’s road back to Congress was not assured. She had a strong start to her campaign, but Republicans blitzed Arizona television with negative advertising against her.

In other races that were called Wednesday afternoon, Democrats and Republicans traded gains. Full story

Jerry Moran: I Have Enough Support to Win NRSC Chairmanship

Jerry Moran: I Have Enough Support to Win NRSC Chairmanship

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) announced today that he has acquired enough support to win the National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman post in the upcoming leadership elections.

“I have a sufficient number of commitments that if the election is held, I would be successful in becoming the chair,” Moran told Roll Call in an afternoon phone interview.

Moran declined to give an exact number of Senators who support him, but his proclamation comes hours after Sen. Rob Portman’s (Ohio) allies reported he’s also mulling the gig. Portman is well-liked among his colleagues, who see him as a strong fundraiser and winner of a battleground state.

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North Dakota: Rick Berg Concedes to Heidi Heitkamp

North Dakota: Rick Berg Concedes to Heidi Heitkamp

Rep. Rick Berg conceded the North Dakota Senate race on Wednesday. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Rick Berg (R) conceded to former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) in the North Dakota Senate race. It was the final outstanding Senate race of the the 2012 cycle.

This means that out of the seriously competitive Senate races, Republicans only won one Democratic-held seat. It also means that Democrats will have a majority of 55 Senators, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and assuming that Sen.-elect Angus King (I) of Maine will caucus with the party.

Republicans, who a year ago were expected to pick up seats and possibly the majority, actually lost 2 seats and will hold 45 seats in the 113th Congress.

Rob Portman Mulling NRSC Chairmanship

Rob Portman Mulling NRSC Chairmanship

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rob Portman is considering a bid for National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, a post his colleagues have asked him to consider running for.

However, the Ohio Republican has made no decisions, a source close to Portman told Roll Call this afternoon. Politico first reported news of Portman’s interest in running the NRSC.

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Montana: Jon Tester Hangs On, Democrats Expand Majority

Montana: Jon Tester Hangs On, Democrats Expand Majority

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:23 a.m. | The Associated Press this morning declared Montana Sen. Jon Tester (D) the winner of his re-election race against Rep. Denny Rehberg (R).

The win means Democrats are guaranteed to have a larger majority in the Senate next year, with at least 54 seats. The open-seat race in North Dakota has still not been called, but Democrat Heidi Heitkamp is currently leading by nearly 3,000 votes over Republican Rep. Rick Berg. If Heitkamp wins, Democrats would have their majority expanded by two seats.

“Jon Tester knows his state like the back of his hand, and he is exactly the type of quality leader we need in the US Senate,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (Wash.) said in a statement. “Montanans saw right through the millions in attack ads from Karl Rove and others.”

With 85 percent of precincts reporting, Tester led Rehberg by about 18,000 votes. Montanans also had a third choice in the race. Libertarian candidate Dan Cox took more than 6 percent of the vote, much of that likely from voters who otherwise would have supported Rehberg.

Update:

“Senator Tester and I share an abiding love for Montana and America, a value which transcends political party or disagreements on matters of policy,” Rehberg said in a statement. “I congratulate Jon on his victory in this hard-fought campaign.”

Angus King: Still Independent

Angus King: Still Independent

(Joshua Miller/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The morning after winning the open-seat Senate race in Maine, Angus King (I) still wouldn’t say which party he will caucus with, though he acknowledged he will probably pick a side.

“Next week is an orientation session. I’m going to be going down, probably this weekend, to Washington and talking to the leadership” on both sides, King told MSNBC. ”My goal is to be as independent as I possibly can, but I also want to be effective.”

Speaking by telephone from Maine, the popular former governor said he received a courtesy call from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) but has not yet heard from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Reid’s quick outreach is no surprise — national Democrats largely avoided the Maine Senate seat while Republicans were actively engaged because both sides have assumed King would caucus with the Democrats. Nonetheless, King said he would speak with both parties before making a decision.

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Allen West May Fall Short

Allen West May Fall Short

Rep. Allen West may lose his re-election bid in Florida. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Firebrand Rep. Allen West (R) may narrowly lose his re-election bid, burned by his own hot rhetoric — which his opponent turned against him — and burdened by GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s weaker-than-expected showing in Florida.

In one of the costliest, nastiest and hardest-fought Congressional campaigns in the country, businessman Patrick Murphy led the freshman 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent, according to the Associated Press. The race has not yet been officially called for Murphy, and 2,456 votes separate the two candidates with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

Full story

Montana: Tester Leads With Votes Still to Count

Montana Sen. Jon Tester (D) led by 4 points in his bid for re-election with two-thirds of precincts fully reporting early Wednesday morning, but enough votes remained outstanding that the race was too close to call.

Tester led with 49 percent, while his Republican challenger, Rep. Denny Rehberg, had 45 percent. Libertarian candidate Dan Cox appeared to be giving Tester a significant boost by taking more than 6 percent of the vote. Full story

Beyond California, Six House Races Too Close to Call

Beyond California, Six House Races Too Close to Call

Rep. Allen West appeared headed toward defeat this morning, but his re-election race had not yet been called. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Razor-thin margins mean more than a handful of House races might not produce a winner today — or this week. There are still several races in California that have yet to be called by the Associated Press. Here are the races outside the Golden State that remained too close to call as of this morning.

  • In Arizona’s 1st district, former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) has a 6,716-vote lead over Jonathan Paton (R), with 100 percent of precincts reporting.
  • In Arizona’s 2nd district, Air Force Col. Martha McSally (R) led Rep. Ron Barber (D) by 386 votes — with 100 percent of precincts reporting. There’s an automatic recount in Arizona when the winner’s margin is less than one-tenth of a percentage point. Full story

California: Plenty of Turnover in House Delegation

California: Plenty of Turnover in House Delegation

Rep. Mary Bono Mack's race was one of a few in California that hadn't been called as of Wednesday morning. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

California was truly the home of Congressional competition this cycle, as more than one-fifth of its House delegation will be new in the next Congress.

With several races still to be called, the state could elect as many as 12 new Members. That’s stunning movement for the country’s largest delegation, which has seen remarkably little turnover in the past decade.

Democrats hoped to net several seats in the Golden State this cycle, though gauging their success was still difficult Wednesday morning because several races remained too close to call. Full story

Blue Dogs Live to Fight Another Day, Despite Some Defeats

Blue Dogs Live to Fight Another Day, Despite Some Defeats

Blue Dog Democrat John Barrow won re-election, surprising some who thought his newly drawn district would doom his bid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s been two tough cycles for conservative Blue Dog Democrats, but amidst the dark clouds — three caucus members lost — there were some very bright spots for the battered breed on Election Day.

Democratic Reps. John Barrow (Ga.) and Jim Matheson (Utah) pulled out re-election victories, despite running in reconfigured and heavily Republican districts. And Rep. Mike McIntyre (N.C.) looked poised for victory in another Republican district, although the Associated Press had not called the race by Wednesday morning. All three are Blue Dog Democrats who managed to localize their contests and run as conservatives, not letting national issues sweep them away. Full story

Minnesota: Michele Bachmann Squeaks Out a Win

Minnesota: Michele Bachmann Squeaks Out a Win

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) will be returning to Capitol Hill in the 113th Congress, after eking out re-election by a narrow margin against businessman Jim Graves (D).

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Bachmann led Graves by just 3,230 votes — 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent for Graves. That’s a far less comfortable margin than Bachmann, who abandoned a presidential bid earlier this year, is used to. In 2010, she won by nearly 40,000 votes and got 52.5 percent.

In her presidential bid, Bachmann, who is a tea party hero and a lightning rod for the left, posted a surprising win in the 2011 Ames straw poll. But she dropped out of the presidential race in January, after her campaign cratered and she placed sixth in the Iowa caucuses in the state where she was born. Full story

California: Brad Sherman Beats Howard Berman

California: Brad Sherman Beats Howard Berman

Rep. Howard Berman, left, lost to fellow Democrat Brad Sherman in California. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It was ugly. It was expensive. It was physical. And now it’s over.

Rep. Brad Sherman defeated fellow Democratic Rep. Howard Berman in California’s reconfigured 30th district.

Just before 5:00 a.m. ET, Berman released a statement conceding to Sherman.

“Brad Sherman will be the next Congressman from the 30th Congressional District,” Berman said. “I congratulate Brad and my friend Tony Cardenas who will have the honor and solemn responsibility of representing the San Fernando Valley in the 113th Congress. I wish both of them the best of luck and the wisdom and strength to confront and overcome the challenges that face our nation. I will do whatever I can to ensure a cooperative and orderly transition.”

With 28 percent of precincts reporting, Sherman had 60 percent to Berman’s 40 percent.

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