Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 2, 2015

February 18, 2013

Nebraska: Mike Johanns Won’t Seek Re-Election

Nebraska: Mike Johanns Wont Seek Re Election

After 32 years in public service, Johanns has decided to step down. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:08 p.m. | Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns, who was a safe bet to win a second term in 2014, announced Monday that he would forgo re-election.

“With everything in life, there is a time and a season. At the end of this term, we will have been in public service over 32 years,” Johanns wrote in an email to constituents co-signed with his wife, Stephanie. “Between the two of us, we have been on the ballot for primary and general elections 16 times and we have served in eight offices. It is time to close this chapter of our lives.”

Republicans are heavily favored to hold the open seat in the conservative state.

Nebraska GOP Gov. Dave Heineman is term-limited from seeking re-election in 2014 and is considered a likely candidate in the race to replace Johanns. The governor has the right of first refusal, and if he runs he would be the “400-pound gorilla” in the race, according to state GOP strategist Sam Fischer. Most other Republicans would likely defer to him.

“My guess is that he’s not going to be in a rush” to make a decision, Fischer said of Heineman.

If Heineman doesn’t run, the GOP faces the prospect of a crowded and bruising primary. “There’s no shortage of people,” Fischer said of a field of prospective GOP candidates. Full story

South Carolina: Mark Sanford Launches First TV Ad (VIDEO)

Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina governor and congressman running for his old House seat, released his first television spot on Monday.

In it, the Republican best known nationally for disappearing from the state for days in 2009 and then admitting to an extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina, talks about fiscal responsibility and refers to his “mistakes.” Full story

New Hampshire: NRCC Makes First Ad Buy of 2014 Cycle (VIDEO)

The National Republican Congressional Committee will attack Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., in its first television advertisement of the 2014 cycle.

The committee put $20,000 behind the spot, which will air on a WMUR affiliate beginning Monday.

The spot criticizes Shea-Porter’s opposition to the GOP-backed “no budget, no pay” bill, playing on her state’s motto, “Live Free or Die.”

Last November, Shea-Porter defeated then-Rep. Frank Guinta, the Republican who ousted her from Congress in 2010. She is expected to be a top target for Republicans in 2014.

Shea-Porter explained her vote to WMUR, which reported the ad buy on Friday.

“The wealthy people in the House and Senate can go without the pay, but others will be hurt along with their families for something that wasn’t their decision,” Shea-Porter told the affiliate.

February 17, 2013

New York: Democrat Recchia to Challenge Grimm

New York City Councilman Domenic Recchia, a Democrat, will run for Congress, taking on GOP Rep. Michael G. Grimm in the Staten Island-anchored 11th District.

The Staten Island Advance first reported the news. Recchia then tweeted, “I’m in.

Grimm, the only House Republican to represent New York City, is a top target for Democrats in New York and Washington, D.C. He faced wave after wave of bad press about alleged ethical improprieties in 2012, but he was never charged with a crime.

Grimm, in his second term, faced a weak Democratic opponent and won re-election in 2012.

Recchia lives in Brooklyn, which could make winning over voters on Staten Island — which makes up the majority of the district — more difficult.

And he might face a primary: Former Rep. Michael E. McMahon, a Democrat, told CQ Roll Call last month that he was also considering a bid against Grimm. Grimm unseated McMahon in 2010.

Illinois: Hutchinson Drops Out of Special Election

Updated 10:09 a.m. | State Sen. Toi Hutchinson will drop out of the the 2nd District special election Sunday and back her fellow Democrat, Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly, according to local news reports.

Hutchinson’s departure comes less than 48 hours after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PAC unleashed a television ad criticizing her position on gun control.

Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC spot also endorsed Kelly — part of the $2 million his group plans to spend on this race. Local Democrats view Kelly as the front-runner in this race, and Hutchinson’s withdrawal only helps to cement her former foe’s top status.

In the first several weeks of the special election to replace former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill., Hutchinson ran an able campaign. She had good fundraising and a noteworthy campaign team.

But Hutchinson faltered when gun control came to dominate this race. In previous runs, Hutchinson boasted support from Second Amendment rights groups like the National Rifle Association.

Full story

February 15, 2013

New Jersey: Holt Expresses Interest in Senate Bid

New Jersey: Holt Expresses Interest in Senate Bid

Holt, right, is considering a bid for New Jersey's Senate seat. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Rush D. Holt, D-N.J., indicated Thursday he is interested in running for Senate.

“There’s no point in being coy,” he told PolitickerNJ. “I’ve made no secret in previous years that I would consider the Senate at the right time. But an expression of interest should not be taken as a campaign announcement.”

Full story

Georgia: New Poll Finds Close Race in GOP Senate Primary

Georgia: New Poll Finds Close Race in GOP Senate Primary

Broun is in a statistical tie in a new poll. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Georgia Republican Reps. Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Tom Price lead the field of potential contenders for the GOP nomination in the open Senate race.

In a new survey conducted by Harper Polling, a GOP firm, 19 percent of Republicans polled said Broun would be their pick for the nominee to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss, 18 percent picked Gingrey and 17 percent said they would vote for Price.

Rep. Jack Kingston took 13 percent, and two other candidates, Ross Tolleson and Kelly Loeffler, got negligible support in the survey.

Broun is the only declared candidate for the seat, but Gingrey and Kingston are expected to decide on a run soon. Price has said he will wait to make a decision until May. Full story

Georgia: House Aide Stone to Challenge Barrow Again in 2014

Georgia: House Aide Stone to Challenge Barrow Again in 2014John Barrow" src="" alt="" width="445" height="295" />

Stone will challenge Barrow, above, in 2014 (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

John Stone, a top House Republican aide, will mount a bid against Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., in 2014.

“Get ready, Mr. Barrow,” Stone confirmed in an interview today with CQ Roll Call.

A number of candidates have been eying the race against Barrow, a longtime Republican target who represents a district that voted for Mitt Romney in November. But Stone appears to be the first to decide on a run.

Stone lost the seat to Barrow by more than 30 points in 2008. Stone, now chief of staff to Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, said he will resign his Capitol Hill position this summer to make a second run against the five-term congressman.

Full story

Iowa: Vilsack Not Running for Senate

Iowa: Vilsack Not Running for Senate

Vilsack won't seek a Senate seat in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa, will not seek the Democratic nomination for Senate, a Democratic source confirmed to CQ Roll Call.

His decision means Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, cleared a major hurdle for his party’s nod.

Days after Braley entered the Senate race last week, a Des Moines Register poll showed Vilsack in a strong position to run for the seat, boasting plenty of residual good will from his time as governor.

But on Friday, longtime Vilsack aide Matt Paul told the Register that Vilsack “will not seek the open seat.”

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, announced his retirement last month, creating the first open-seat race for Senate in Iowa in decades.

Several Republicans are also eyeing the race, including Reps. Steve King and Tom Latham.

CQ Roll Call rates the race as Leans Democratic.


South Carolina: Clyburn Joins Colbert Busch on Campaign Trail

South Carolina: Clyburn Joins Colbert Busch on Campaign Trail

Clyburn will likely endorse Colbert Busch. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Assistant House Minority Leader James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., will join Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the favorite to win the Democratic nomination in South Carolina’s 1st District special election, in Charleston on Saturday.

The 11-term congressman “will be making an important announcement” alongside Colbert Busch, according to a press release from the campaign.

Clyburn will likely endorse Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert. Clyburn would be endorsing her over Ben Frasier, a perennial candidate, who is black. The primary will be held March 19.

His backing comes on the heels of endorsements from the AFL-CIO labor union and Charleston Mayor Joe Riley. Wealthy businessman Martin Skelly also dropped out of the special election this week and endorsed Colbert Busch.

The candidate’s comedian brother will be helping her out later this month as well by hosting fundraisers on two straight days in New York City and Charleston.

Asked how many times he had run for Congress before, Frasier did not know but estimated “about nine or 10 times.”

“And I’m ready for nine or 10 more,” he told CQ Roll Call in a short telephone interview.

The GOP-friendly district includes almost all of the South Carolina coast. The seat is open following Republican Tim Scott’s appointment to the Senate.

There are 16 Republicans running in the GOP primary. If no candidate tops 50 percent, which is likely, a runoff will be held April 2.

February 14, 2013

New Jersey: Lautenberg Won’t Seek Re-Election

New Jersey: Lautenberg Wont Seek Re Election

Lautenberg announced Thursday that he will not seek re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:16 p.m. | Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., will not seek re-election, setting up a lively Democratic primary for his seat in 2014.

CQ Roll Call confirmed Lautenberg’s decision, which he explained to The Newark Star-Ledger in a report published Thursday.

“I am not announcing the end of anything. I am announcing the beginning of a two-year mission to pass new gun safety laws, protect children from toxic chemicals and create more opportunities for working families in New Jersey,” Lautenberg told the paper. “While I may not be seeking re-election, there is plenty of work to do before the end of this term and I’m going to keep fighting as hard as ever for the people of New Jersey in the U.S. Senate.”

Garden State operatives expect more than one Democrat will seek the seat. Last year, Newark Mayor Cory Booker announced he had formed an exploratory committee to look at a bid. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. is also eyeing the seat, along with possibly other state politicians.

Full story

New Jersey: Another Poll Gives Booker Big Edge Over Lautenberg

Yet another poll shows Newark Mayor Cory Booker with a commanding lead over Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg in a 2014 Democratic primary.

Meanwhile, television personality Geraldo Rivera has work to do if he wants to be a viable contender, according to a new Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press poll.

In the poll released Thursday, 40 percent of Democrats backed Booker, while 25 percent said they would support Lautenberg. Notably, only 15 percent of surveyed Democrats said they wanted Lautenberg to return to the Senate.

Lautenberg has not yet said definitively whether he will seek re-election in 2014. Regardless of his plans, CQ Roll Call rates this race as Safe Democratic.

Only 26 percent of respondents said they were likely to vote for Rivera. The television personality indicated his interest in the Garden State Senate race last month.

Full story

Michigan: Amash Eyeing Senate Run?

Michigan: Amash Eyeing Senate Run?

Amash might run for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Conservative Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., is considering a Senate run if Democratic Sen. Carl Levin retires, according to a report in National Review.

Amash has told local activists he’s intrigued by a statewide run, per the conservative outlet. An Amash spokesman did not immediately respond to an email and voice mail message.

Levin, 78, has not said yet whether he will seek a seventh term, but his spokeswoman told the Lansing State Journal this month that she expects a decision “in the next few weeks.”

If he retires, Michigan Democrats expect a top official in the state will run in his stead. Wolverine Republicans are more concerned about their candidate prospects for the race — especially after Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., walloped former Rep. Peter Hoekstra, a Republican, by 20 points last November.

Michigan GOP insiders were not surprised by Amash’s interest. Paul Welday, a Republican consultant in Michigan, said “there have been rumors to that effect for a while.”

“I think it’s very much still in the embryonic and discussion phases,” Welday added.

Full story

February 13, 2013

Mississippi: Cochran Puts Off Re-Election Decision

Mississippi: Cochran Puts Off Re Election DecisionThad Cochran" src="" alt="" width="445" height="308" />

Cochran will decide later this year whether he will seek a seventh term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While several senators have already announced retirement plans ahead of the 2014 cycle, Sen. Thad Cochran said he’s putting off his decision until “the end of the year or the beginning of the next year.”

“I haven’t decided yet — too early,” said the affable Mississippi Republican Wednesday. “I’m deferring making a decision until later in the term.”

Cochran’s measured approach may not be welcome news to ambitious Mississippi Republicans, who have waited decades to run for his seat in this solidly GOP state. Cochran was elected to the Senate in 1978, the first Republican elected to the Senate from Mississippi since reconstruction.

Full story

Romney’s Pollster Warns GOP Members Not to Count on Six-Year Itch

House Republicans got a refresher course in why they lost the White House this morning and a warning to beware of President Barack Obama’s bully pulpit this election cycle.

At their first political conference meeting of the 113th Congress, held at Republican National Committee headquarters a stone’s throw from the Capitol, National Republican Congressional Committee Vice Chairman Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia and top GOP pollster Neil Newhouse told members to be on guard for Obama’s campaign machine.

Westmoreland warned that just because the Obama for America campaign has relaunched as Organizing for Action and Obama is not eligible for re-election does not mean he will not be present on the political scene.

“His attention has gone from getting himself elected to keeping the majority in the Senate and winning the majority in the House,” Westmoreland said in an interview, paraphrasing his remarks. “They need to be prepared for him being involved, because he made it quite clear at their retreat that he wanted his last two years to be like his first two years and that means, of course, having Pelosi as the speaker.”

Westmoreland’s prediction is already ringing true. Organizing for America is planning its first official day of action to back up Obama’s call for gun control measures. Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?



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

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...