Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 29, 2014

October 5, 2012

Maine: Americans Elect, DSCC Spending Heavily on Senate Race

Maine: Americans Elect, DSCC Spending Heavily on Senate Race

Outside groups have bought TV time in Maine to help boost former Gov. Angus King. (Joshua Miller/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Christmas has come early for TV stations in Maine. Two outside groups have put in big money to help independent Senate candidate Angus King, the frontrunner in the race who has seen his lead slipping in recent weeks.

Americans Elect, the third-party group that tried and failed to get an independent, nonpartisan presidential candidate on the ballot this year, bought a substantial chunk of television time in support of King. Their ad began airing today and a source familiar with TV buys in the state said it was backed by about $500,000 through Oct. 25.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee also reserved $1.7 million in television time from Oct. 9 through Nov. 5, the source said. That reservation is presumably to knock Republican nominee Charlie Summers, the Maine secretary of state. The DSCC first bought time in the state last month. Full story

Daily Ad Track

Another day, another bunch of negative ads. Here is what cut through the clutter today.

California’s 39th

This ad from a group called “America Shining” uses old B-movie footage against Rep. Ed Royce (R) and in support of Navy veteran Jay Chen (D). It may look like it was made by a film student, but it’ll catch your eye. We were unable to track down contact info for the group behind the ad. But the latest Federal Election Commission postings show that the organization has purchased about $5,000 of television time. This Orange County district is solid GOP territory, and as part of the Los Angeles media market, it’s expensive to advertise in.

Paging Susan Sontag!

Montana Senate

Sen. Jon Tester’s (D) new TV ad, running statewide behind a $125,000 buy, features a retired firefighter disparaging Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) for suing the city of Billings over a fire on his property. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee hit Rehberg on the same topic in its own ad released today.

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Full story

October 4, 2012

Arizona: Kyrsten Sinema Raises Nearly $800,000 in Third Quarter

Former state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D) raised $775,000 in the third quarter in her open-seat race against Republican Vernon Parker for Arizona’s 9th district, according to her campaign.

Of that sum, $653,000 was raised from Aug. 9 to Sept. 30. The campaign is still calculating her cash on hand, but it is likely to be somewhere north of $275,000.

Sinema will need every dollar she has raised. Republican outside groups are either already on the air or are expected to buy Phoenix television time. And Parker indicated in a recent interview with Roll Call that his fundraising had picked up after Arizona’s Aug. 28 primary. Full story

Mixed Bag of Polling for GOP Freshmen

Mixed Bag of Polling for GOP Freshmen

Rep. Jeff Denham's challenger released a poll today showing he had significantly cut into the Congressman's lead. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Many House Republican freshmen have competitive re-election campaigns on their hands, including a trio where fresh polling results this week made clear that some are far better off than others.

Freshman Reps. Scott Rigell (R-Va.), Joe Heck (R-Nev.) and Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) each garnered solid Democratic challengers, but a poll conducted for the Rigell campaign indicates he’s in the strongest position of the three to return to Congress next year. Full story

Race Rating Changes: House Map Jells; Senate Still Fluid

Race Rating Changes: House Map Jells; Senate Still Fluid

Vulnerable Rep. Bill Owens has improved prospects for re-election, as his race moves from a Tossup rating to Leans Democratic. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

What a difference two years makes. At this point in 2010, as the GOP wave began to build, political handicappers and political operatives alike were trying to keep up with the number of newly competitive races moving onto the rapidly expanding House battleground. The same was true at this time in 2006 and 2008, when we were attempting to size up the coming Democratic waves.

Fast-forward two years, and a month before Election Day we are taking House races off the board, as it becomes clear to both parties that contests they hoped to put in play just haven’t materialized this cycle. We expect there may be a few less competitive races that begin to move in the competitive direction, but that hasn’t happened to a large extent at this point.

There is other significant movement in a handful of House races that we now rate as more likely than not to switch hands. GOP Reps. David Rivera (Fla.) and Ann Marie Buerkle (N.Y.) are in races that look to be increasingly uphill. Both face rematches from 2010 (although Rivera’s troubles have much more to do with his own ethics problems than the strength of his Democratic challenger).

In Senate race moves, we are moving two Democratic-held seats virtually off the board. Republicans always knew that Hawaii was going to be a tough race considering the overwhelming Democratic tilt of the state. But former Gov. Linda Lingle was the best possible candidate they could have gotten. However, it’s clear that the race really never got off the ground. Lingle would have had to run a flawless campaign AND Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) needed to stumble. Neither happened, and the race is now off the board. Full story

Daily Ad Track

More often than not, the newest Republican television ads have accused Democrats of cutting Medicare by $716 billion to help pay for President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, otherwise referred to as “Obamacare.”

Democrats have vigorously disputed the charge, which surfaced during Wednesday evening’s presidential debate between Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney. Some media outlets that submit political attacks to fact-checking reviews have sided with the Democrats on this issue. But that hasn’t stopped Republicans from employing this line of attack, which paid dividends in 2010 and might again Nov. 6.

Meanwhile, House and Senate candidates have been running either attack ads or spots responding to attacks.

Here’s what broke through the clutter today:

Indiana 8 

Paging whomever owns the copyright to the Temptations’ “My Girl”…

Rep. Larry Bucshon (R) was up with this ad that plays over a slightly altered version of the Motown classic in an attempt to tie his Democratic challenger, former state Rep. Dave Crooks, to Obama.

New York 24 

How do you respond when accused of being soft on women’s issues? Look directly into the camera and make your case. At least, that’s how Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R) is responding to an ad that her opponent, former Rep. Dan Maffei (D), put on the air earlier this week. Connecticut Senate candidate Linda McMahon responded similarly last week.

The Buerkle campaign did not immediately respond to a request for buy information.

Full story

Maryland: Bill Clinton Hosts Fundraiser for John Delaney

Maryland: Bill Clinton Hosts Fundraiser for John Delaney

Congressional candidate John Delaney has the backing of President Bill Clinton for an upcoming D.C. fundraiser. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Bill Clinton is set to appear Oct. 16 at a Washington, D.C., fundraiser for businessman John Delaney’s campaign for Maryland’s 6th district

No minimum donation was requested for the afternoon event, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by Roll Call. Delaney is challenging Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R).

Delaney is widely expected to win the race, thanks in part to a dramatically redrawn district that favors the Democrats — and because outside Republican groups have shown no interest in aiding Bartlett’s campaign.

Still, it is no surprise that Clinton is lending a hand. Delaney is a longtime Clinton donor, and the former president has displayed deep loyalty to former staffers, friends and campaign contributors.

The fundraiser is set for the Georgetown home of David and Katherine Bradley, the invitation said.

TiVo, Twitter Agree: Big Bird Is Fascinating

People seem to really love Big Bird.

That’s one of the top takeaways from TiVo’s analysis of the “Top Moments” of Wednesday night’s presidential debate. Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s comments on eliminating federal funding for public broadcasting was, in essence, the most rewound and replayed moment of the entire debate by users of the digital recording devices, the company said today.

Twitter reported similar interest in Big Bird and PBS on the social media platform.

“The evening’s real breakout star was a certain tall yellow Muppet. There were more than a quarter million Tweets mentioning Big Bird, following Governor Romney’s statement that he wants to cut Federal funding for PBS, the Muppet characters’ TV channel, even despite his stated fondness for the Sesame Street character,” a blog post from Twitter said.

Asked by moderator Jim Lehrer of the “PBS NewsHour” to identify federal programs that he would cut to help reduce the federal budget deficit, Romney first said he would repeal the 2010 health care overhaul but then turned to funding for public broadcasting.

“I’m sorry, Jim. I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too,” Romney said to Lehrer. “But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.”

President Barack Obama’s budget request calls for an advance appropriation of $445 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for fiscal 2015. The corporation is supporting that level of funding. It has been funded through a two-year advance appropriation since 1976, in an effort that the corporation’s leadership says helps ensure editorial independence of Lehrer and others.

The Sesame Workshop, which produces the “Sesame Street” program featuring the lovable giant yellow bird responded with a statement today.

“‘Sesame Street’ has been a proud partner of PBS for 43 years, and is dependent on PBS to distribute our commercial-free educational programming to all children in the United States. Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, educational organization,” the group said. “We do not comment on campaigns, but we’re happy we can all agree that everyone likes Big Bird.”

Sesame Workshop, previously called the Children’s Television Workshop, is a charitable nonprofit organized as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.

TiVo reported the Big Bird moment took the top prize among viewers on CNN, Fox News and NBC.

Other leading moments included Romney’s explanation of his position on Medicare benefits for upper-income beneficiaries and an exchange between Romney and Obama regarding Romney’s tax proposals.

 

Arizona: NRSC Buys Ad Space in Senate Race

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has purchased one week’s worth of statewide advertising for about $550,000 in Arizona to support the campaign of Rep. Jeff Flake (R). Recent polls have shown a narrowing margin between the Congressman and his Democratic rival, former Surgeon General Richard Carmona.

Full story

Virginia: Tim Kaine Posts $4.5M Third-Quarter Haul

Virginia: Tim Kaine Posts $4.5M Third Quarter Haul

Tim Kaine (left) had his best fundraising quarter yet in the Virginia Senate race. He faces former Sen. George Allen next month. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:35 a.m. | Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) continued his fundraising dominance in the third quarter, raising a personal-best $4.5 million for his Senate bid.

According to a campaign release, Kaine has now raised “nearly $15 million total from more than 40,000 individual donors, including 10,000 new donors in the last six weeks.” His strong fundraising allowed the campaign to but an additional $3 million in television time for the final five weeks of the campaign, increasing his total fall buy to about $7.5 million. He still had $1 million in cash on hand as of Sept. 30. Full story

October 3, 2012

Arizona: NRCC Makes Ad Buy to Target Ron Barber

Arizona: NRCC Makes Ad Buy to Target Ron Barber

National Republicans are buying ad time to boost Martha McSally in an Arizona race that is currently not seen as that competitive. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Campaign is going up on TV in Arizona’s 2nd district, making a play for the seat Rep. Ron Barber (D) won in a special election earlier this year.

The NRCC has placed a six-figure buy in the Tucson media market in support of retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally (R), according to several sources who monitor media buys. The broadcast buy is $255,000 and will last from October 5-18.

This news comes hours after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced it was confident enough in the race to pull a week’s worth of advertising in Tucson and a day after House Majority PAC, a super PAC that supports Democratic House candidates, went into the market.

The House Majority PAC spot was a negative spot that links McSally to Wall Street. The NRCC ad is expected to be a negative portrayal of the incumbent. Barber has already been through the ringer with negative ads from the special election race, so it will be interesting to see how, or whether,  these numbers move over the next couple of weeks. Full story

Virginia: Another Poll Finds Tim Kaine in Front

Virginia: Another Poll Finds Tim Kaine in Front

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new independent poll found former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) ahead of former Gov. George Allen (R) by 5 points in the race for the open Senate seat.

Kaine led 49 percent to 44 percent in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday. Seven percent were undecided.

It is the latest in a string of polls that show Kaine pulling out to a significant lead against Allen in what’s been a margin-of-error race for the past year and a half. The poll was conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 1 among 969 likely voters. It had a 3.1-point margin of error.

Arizona: Richard Carmona Rakes In $2.2M in Third Quarter

Arizona: Richard Carmona Rakes In $2.2M in Third Quarter

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Senate nominee and former Surgeon General Richard Carmona raised $2.2 million in the third quarter, according to a campaign press release. The campaign of Carmona’s Republican rival, Rep. Jeff Flake, declined to release its numbers on Wednesday.

This new figure doubles Carmona’s second-quarter haul. The campaign was “still calculating” its cash-on-hand total at press time, but Carmona spent heavily on television for the month of September.

Roll Call rates this race as Leans Republican. It is an open-seat race because Sen. Jon Kyl (R) is retiring.

Paul Ryan Fundraises Off of ‘Fast and Furious’

Paul Ryan Fundraises Off of ‘Fast and Furious’

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan sent an email soliciting donations from conservatives as he called on Attorney General Eric Holder to resign. The message was sent to a listserv titled ConservativeIntel.com and sponsored by Romney Victory Inc.

Under the subject line “Fast and Furious,” Ryan wrote that Holder needed “to step aside.” The email then linked to a donation page of mittforpresident.com.

“He’s misled Congress, and entirely botched the investigation of the Operation Fast and Furious debacle — yet he still leads our nation’s Justice Department,” Ryan wrote. “It’s just another example of the Obama Administration’s transparent hypocrisy that despite the tragic and very human toll of this scandal, Attorney General Holder refuses to resign — and President Obama refuses to remove him.”

Minnesota: Barney Frank Becomes an Issue in 6th District

Minnesota: Barney Frank Becomes an Issue in 6th District

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) made retiring Rep. Barney Frank into political fodder in her race for Minnesota’s 6th district, dinging her opponent, businessman Jim Graves, for planning to host the Massachusetts Democrat at a presidential debate-watch fundraiser tonight.

Frank, ranking member on the powerful Financial Services Committee and known for the Wall Street reform law that bears his name, will attend Graves’ debate-watch fundraiser at a hotel that Graves owns in downtown Minneapolis. Democrats say the seat could be in play after a September poll paid for by Graves’ campaign showed the race to be competitive, with Bachmann leading Graves, 48 percent to 46 percent.

Bachmann has capitalized on Frank’s appearance at the fundraiser, releasing a video on her website that highlights Graves’ ties to Frank, a backer of “big government policies like the Wall Street bailout, the failed stimulus package and Obamacare,” according to Bachmann.

Full story

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