Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 22, 2014

October 26, 2012

Indiana: Mourdock’s Post-Debate Poll Shows Tied Race

CHICAGO — Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock’s (R) campaign released a poll this morning showing a tied Senate race after his Tuesday night debate, when he called pregnancy from rape something that “God intended.”

Mourdock and his opponent, Rep. Joe Donnelly (D), are tied at 44 percent in the survey paid for by the GOP nominee’s campaign. A libertarian candidate, Andrew Horning, received 6 percent in the poll.

Four percent of voters said they were undecided.

The new numbers serve as damage control for Mourdock after his highly publicized remarks in the final debate of his race. Democrats seized on his comments, airing a new advertisement featuring his words throughout the state. Even some Republicans, including presidential nominee Mitt Romney, distanced themselves from Mourdock’s words by stating their disagreement. Full story

Illinois: Poll Gives Tammy Duckworth a 10-Point Lead Over Joe Walsh

Illinois: Poll Gives Tammy Duckworth a 10 Point Lead Over Joe Walsh

Democratic House candidate Tammy Duckworth led Republican Rep. Joe Walsh in a new poll. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. — Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth (D) had a 10-point advantage over freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R) in the most recent poll of the suburban Chicago 8th district.

Duckworth led Walsh, 50 percent to 40 percent, in the Chicago Tribune poll of 600 likely voters. Notably, Duckworth led Walsh among female voters, 54 percent to 34 percent.

The new numbers come one day after Duckworth hosted Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) to discuss Walsh’s comments on abortion. Speier opened up about her own medically necessary abortion on the House floor last February.

“His most recent commentary about women accessing abortion in late-term pregnancies for medical reasons being unnecessary” Speier said on her day trip to the Chicago area. “I’m living proof it is necessary. He continues to spew out horrific misinformation.”

Full story

October 25, 2012

Congressional Leadership Fund Reports $8.7M on Hand

Congressional Leadership Fund reported raising $3.1 million Oct. 1-17, to close the period with $8.7 million in cash on hand.

The pro-Republican super PAC, the sister organization of American Action Network, a 501(c)(4) organization, told Roll Call earlier today that its October fundraising will help support a planned $18 million ad blitz by the two groups through the month’s end in support of GOP House candidates. Congressional Leadership Fund reported $306,000 in expenditures and no debt in the pre-general filing period.

According to Congressional Leadership Fund’s Federal Election Commission report, its donors this month include August Busch III, who contributed $50,000, and Chevron, which gave $2.5 million.

Congressional Leadership Fund is dedicated to investing in House races on behalf of Republican candidates. The group is referred to by some as Speaker John Boehner’s (Ohio) super PAC. Its board is chaired by former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), who also serves as chairman of American Action Network, former National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.), former Rep. Vin Weber (R-Minn.) and Fred Malek.

DCCC Outraises NRCC in Pre-General FEC Report

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee outraised the National Republican Congressional Committee by about $2 million, from Oct. 1 to 17.

In its expected pre-general Federal Election Commission filing, the DCCC will report raising $9.5 million. The NRCC will report raising $7.4 million.

Deep in the most hard-fought part of the election cycle, both committees spent extremely heavily but were at parity. The DCCC spent about $26 million while the NRCC spent about the same.

Full story

Nevada: DCCC Launches First IE in New District

Nevada: DCCC Launches First IE in New District

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting Republican Danny Tarkanian in a new ad in Nevada's 4th district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched its first independent expenditure advertisement in Nevada’s new 4th district, where a surprisingly competitive race has developed in what had been considered a Democratic-favored seat.

The ad targets Republican nominee Danny Tarkanian’s support for Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget plan and says he supports privatizing Social Security and eliminating the Department of Education. Tarkanian is battling Nevada Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford (D) for the seat. Full story

Indiana: DSCC Ad Hits Richard Mourdock on Controversial Comments

Updated 6:18 p.m. | The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee today released a hard-hitting response ad to Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock’s controversial comment that pregnancies resulting from rape are “something that God intended to happen.”

The committee is spending $1.1 million to air the ad through Election Day.

The spot reminds viewers of the comment and also shows statements indicating that Republicans Mitt Romney and gubernatorial candidate Rep. Mike Pence distanced themselves from the remark.

But the toughest part of the ad is that it splices together Mourdock’s comments on rape with an older clip in which Mourdock says, “To me, the highlight of politics, frankly, is to inflict my opinion on someone else.”

Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.

Updated 6:18 p.m.

Mourdock’s campaign charged that Donnelly broke a rule that forbids the use of debate footage in television commercials. The footage is copywrited by the state’s debate commission, according to a Mourdock aide.

“Hoosiers are calling Joe Donnelly’s attacks sleazy, and it’s no wonder why,” Mourdock spokesman Brose McVey said. “Now Donnelly and his liberal Washington allies are attacking Richard Mourdock’s faith and beliefs.”

Shira Toeplitz contributed to this report. 

Wisconsin: Will Dueling 9/11 Ads Affect Senate Race?

Wisconsin: Will Dueling 9/11 Ads Affect Senate Race?

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson released an ad this week knocking his Democratic opponent over the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (Bill Clark CQ/Roll Call File Photo)

In a Senate race that has been defined by negative ads, where both candidates are more disliked by voters than they are liked, Wisconsin might be on the verge of discovering whether there is such a thing as too negative.

And in 2012, a cycle in which nastiness and pettiness has reigned supreme nationwide, that’s saying something.

The mudslinging in the Badger State reached a new level this week with the roll-out of dueling 9/11 ads, featuring former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) accusing Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) of being unpatriotic and Baldwin, in turn, accusing Thompson of profiting off of 9/11 victims. And while it remains to be seen whether Wisconsin voters will find the ads distasteful, it is clear they find their options on the ballot so. In the most recent Marquette University Law School poll, 50 percent of voters held an unfavorable view of Thompson and 47 percent of voters had an unfavorable view of Baldwin.

Thompson has told voters that Baldwin is “too extreme” for Wisconsin and Baldwin has said that “Tommy isn’t for us anymore.” The 9/11 ads, replete with images of charred buildings, American flags and ominous voice overs, are just an extension of what’s already out there, albeit one that some sources speculate could backfire on Thompson, who started the fight.

Full story

Missouri: McCaskill Camp Tries Closing the Deal

The campaign of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) is launching three new ads statewide today that feature comments by Missourians.

“We’ve been hearing a number of things that are pretty consistent no matter where we go and who we’re talking to across the state,” campaign manager Adrianne Marsh told reporters. ”And it’s related to things that are important to them, like veterans care and Medicare, Social Security, student loans, minimum wage — the very things themes that we’ve been talking about on this campaign since the beginning.”

Speaking on a conference call with reporters, Marsh said they encountered the individuals featured in the ads in a variety of venues across the state. Many of the individuals featured criticize the positions of GOP challenger Rep. Todd Akin. Several of the individuals featured are wearing St. Louis Cardinals apparel.

Full story

Daily Ad Track

Here’s what cut through the clutter today.

Connecticut Senate

If this cycle has proved anything, it’s that the best way to knock around one’s opponent without seeming outright sinister is to hire an actor and portray the opposition as an idiot. This new spot from former WWE CEO Linda McMahon takes the concept to a whole new level with its portrayal of Democratic rival Rep. Christopher Murphy.

Buzzfeed described it as “strange and amazing.” For us, it brought to mind one of the greatest movie endings ever:

Full story

Montana: Looking For an Edge in the Senate Race

Montana: Looking For an Edge in the Senate Race

Sen. Jon Tester (above) is in a tossup race with Rep. Denny Rehberg. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Montana Senate race is expected to be among the closest in the country, and both parties are looking for any edge possible.

Democrats hope to gain some traction with the release of an investigative report into the 2009 boat crash that injured Rep. Denny Rehberg (R), who is now challenging Sen. Jon Tester (D).

A district judge on Wednesday issued an order for the records to be released as early as today, as soon as the court’s clerk redacts the personal information of others involved in the crash. Former state Sen. Greg Barkus was convicted of criminal endangerment for driving the boat after a night of drinking, which ended with a crash on the shores of Flathead Lake that left all five on board injured. Full story

Indiana: John McCain, Barack Obama React to Richard Mourdock’s Controversial Remark

The political world has spent the last 40 hours or so issuing condemnations or statements of support for Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R), who made a controversial debate comment that pregnancies resulting from rape are “something that God intended to happen.”

Mourdock and national Republicans have his bid against Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) riding on how the story plays out. Democrats have resoundingly criticized Mourdock, and Republicans are split in their statements.

Democrats sent a flurry of press releases when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) considered withdrawing his support for Mourdock in a pre-taped CNN appearance on Wednesday night. McCain said his support for Mourdock was contingent on whether he “owned up” to the comments and that Mourdock needed to ask for forgiveness.

But this morning, a McCain spokesman explained that Mourdock still has the lawmaker’s support. Full story

Connecticut: NRCC Poll Shows Andrew Roraback Up Over Elizabeth Esty

Connecticut: NRCC Poll Shows Andrew Roraback Up Over Elizabeth Esty

Republican House candidate Andrew Roraback led Elizabeth Esty in a recent poll. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

State Sen. Andrew Roraback (R) led former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D) by 6 points in Connecticut’s 5th district, according to a National Republican Congressional Committee poll conducted earlier this week.

In a head-to-head matchup, Roraback had the support of 45 percent of respondents, while 39 percent backed Esty.

According to the poll, Esty’s favorability ratings are underwater. Thirty-two percent had a positive impression of her, while 36 percent said they held a negative view. Roraback was rated favorably by 44 percent, while 25 percent said they had an unfavorable view.

Full story

House Majority PAC Launches Three New Ads

The Democratic House Majority PAC will launch three new ads today, giving a final boost to two Democratic Congressmen and a candidate running in an open seat.

The first spot is in Illinois’ open 12th district, represented by retiring Democratic Rep. Jerry Costello. It highlights the contrast between the Republican nominee, businessman Jason Plummer, and the Democratic nominee, retired Maj. Gen. William Enyart. The ad, backed by $125,000 from today through Nov. 6 on broadcast television in the Paducah, Ky., media market, paints Plummer as someone who “praises” a plan that would “end Medicare.”

The second spot is in Massachusetts’ 6th district, where eight-term Democratic Rep. John Tierney faces an uphill battle against former state Sen. Richard Tisei (R). The ad attempts to tie Tisei to the tea party as well as the Medicare changes  in the budget of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The spot is backed by about $320,000 on broadcast television in the Boston media market over a week beginning today.

The third spot is in New York’s 1st district, where Rep. Tim Bishop (D) faces a rematch with businessman Randy Altschuler (R). The ad hammers on Altschuler’s outsourcing business. The spot begins today and is backed by $500,000 on targeted cable in the expensive New York City media market.

No Room for Error in Indiana Senate Contest

 

No Room for Error in Indiana Senate Contest

(Tom Strattman/Associated Press)

INDIANAPOLIS — By now, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock should know when to hold his tongue.

But the Republican Senate nominee, who’s been in Indiana politics for more than two decades, has a habit of speaking freely, frequently.

Many Hoosiers agree with his ideology, but Mourdock’s errors are political. As a result, less than two weeks before Election Day, Mourdock’s greatest hurdle to winning a Senate seat is himself.

“Richard doesn’t really believe in a filter,” said one Hoosier Republican and Mourdock ally, who declined to criticize the nominee on the record. “He is who he is and refuses to compromise for expediency.”

On Tuesday evening, Mourdock described pregnancy that results from rape as “something that God intended to happen” in response to an open-ended question on abortion. He delivered a tearful apology the next day to those who misunderstood his comments, which he described as not “articulate.”

The comments sent the Indiana race into turmoil two weeks before Election Day, just as Mourdock regained his footing against Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) following a rocky September for Republicans nationwide.
Full story

October 24, 2012

DCCC Secures $17M Loan to Fund Races

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee today confirmed that it has taken out a $17 million line of credit to help fund the final stretch of the election cycle.

The influx of funds will help finance more media buys in a wide range of close races and, in turn, help balance out the barrage of GOP-aligned outside group dollars flowing into House races. While winning back control of the House remains a steep climb, Democrats aim to at least cut deeply into Republicans’ current 25-seat majority.

The National Republican Congressional Committee declined to comment on whether it has secured a loan.

Full story

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