Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 4, 2015

March 21, 2013

Baldwin to Chair DSCC Women’s Outreach Effort

Baldwin will chair the Democratic Women's Senate Network (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

First-term Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin will lead the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s outreach to women in the 2014 cycle.

The Democratic Women’s Senate Network, established in 2001, helps the DSCC engage donors and women supporters around the country in an effort to win more Senate races and elect more women to the Senate, according to a news release from the committee.

“Helping engage and lead our incredibly strong network of women supporters will be one of the most important jobs this cycle,” said DSCC Chairman Michael Bennet of Colorado in a written statement.

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 10:51 a.m.
DSCC

March 20, 2013

NRCC Raises $14.4 Million at Annual March Dinner

The National Republican Congressional Committee raised a record $14.4 million off of its Wednesday evening fundraising dinner, according to a committee source.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker headlined the event, and Wisconsin Rep. Paul D. Ryan served as the chairman for the annual dinner for the committee’s top donors.  Full story

Hawaii: Hanabusa to Announce Plans in Next Several Weeks

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Passed over in December for an appointment to the state’s vacant Senate seat by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in favor of now-Sen. Brian Schatz, Democratic Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is deciding whether to challenge one of them in a primary next year.

According to a source close to the congresswoman, Hanabusa will likely decide on whether to run for governor, senator or for re-election within the next couple of weeks and then announce her plans soon after.

A poll commissioned by Hanabusa and leaked to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser earlier this month showed Hanabusa leading both Abercrombie and Schatz by double-digit margins in hypothetical Democratic primaries. Should Hanabusa challenge either in a statewide contest, several Democrats would no doubt enter the race to replace her in the safely Democratic 1st District.

The Senate seat now held by Schatz became vacant after the death of longtime Democratic Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.

South Carolina: Sanford Still the Front-Runner Heading Into Runoff

(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

After a first-place primary finish on Tuesday, former Gov. Mark Sanford remains the front-runner to win South Carolina’s 1st District as he heads to a Republican runoff with attorney Curtis Bostic on April 2.

Bostic is less familiar to the electorate than Sanford, a former congressman from that area. The personal-injury lawyer has a smaller fundraising base, plans to eschew negative advertising during the runoff and is seen by operatives as too focused on his social conservatism in a district where fiscal conservatism is paramount.

“It looks pretty good for Sanford. He drew the ideal opponent,” said Will Folks, an influential political blogger in the state who is neutral in the race.

Sanford took 37 percent in Tuesday’s 16-person GOP primary, while Bostic took 13 percent. Because no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers head to a runoff.

Full story

Wisconsin: Ryan’s Former Democratic Foe Explores Rematch

Zerban has filed an exploratory committee to challenge Ryan, above, again. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrat Rob Zerban announced Wednesday that he is preparing for a rematch with Republican Rep. Paul D. Ryan in Wisconsin’s 1st District.

Ryan defeated Zerban, a former catering company owner, by 12 points last November, when the House Budget Committee chairman simultaneously ran for vice president and re-election. Still, the last election was the “closest challenge” of Ryan’s congressional career, according to Zerban’s campaign.

The 1st District includes competitive territory, but Ryan has easily held the seat since he first won it in 1998. One of Ryan’s greatest campaign strengths is his fundraising. In the 2012 cycle, he raised nearly $5 million and spent nearly $6.7 million.

But facing Ryan — and his national profile — also proved lucrative for Zerban, who spent nearly $2.4 million. Full story

DSCC Outraised NRSC in February

 

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee outraised its GOP counterpart nearly 2-to-1 last month, marking the second month in a row it has brought in significantly more cash than the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

According to figures provided by the committees, the DSCC raised $4.3 million in February and had $5.1 million in cash on hand at the end of the month. The NRSC raised $2.2 million and had $3.1 million in the bank on Feb. 28. Full story

DCCC Announces Community Outreach Chairmen

Becerra will chair a new DCCC council. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced on Wednesday the members who will lead its community outreach programs. The members will chair councils designed to keep the committee connected with various supportive communities for Democrats, including Native Americans, immigrants, LGBT, labor and defense.

The chairmen of the councils are:

Full story

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 1:02 p.m.
DCCC

Shop Talk: Hagan Signs Coady, Brees to Re-Election Finance Team

Hagan is staffing up for her 2014 re-election campaign (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., continues to staff her re-election campaign by bringing on two new aides: John Coady will serve as her finance director and Erika Brees will serve as her state finance director.

Brees and Coady are veterans of another targeted incumbent’s re-election race: Sen. Claire McCaskill’s campaign in Missouri last year. Coady held the same title with the McCaskill campaign, while Brees was her Missouri deputy finance director.

The junior senator from North Carolina is one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the 2014 cycle, although her GOP opponent is unclear. In the meantime, Hagan continues to bring on operatives for her re-election. She announced last week that she had hired Preston Elliott to be her 2014 campaign manager.

The list of Hagan’s potential opponents includes obstetrician and tea party supporter Greg Brannon, state House Speaker Thom Tillis, Rep. Renee Ellmers, state Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry.

March 19, 2013

South Carolina: Sanford Heads to Runoff, but GOP Opponent Unknown

(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Updated 10:52 p.m. | Former Gov. Mark Sanford will advance, as expected, to the Republican primary runoff on April 2.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Sanford took 37 percent, according to The Associated Press. That was enough to send him to a head-to-head matchup with another Republican, but not over the 50 percent threshold needed to win the nomination outright.

Sanford appears poised to face attorney Curtis Bostic, who received the second-highest number of votes.

But a recount loomed: Bostic, a former Charleston County councilman, led state Sen. Larry Groom by only 493 votes, or 0.92 percent of ballots cast.

Under South Carolina election law, if the margin separating two candidates is one point or less, an automatic recount takes place — unless the other candidate waives a recount in writing.

Grooms is not conceding and, as of Tuesday night, does not plan to waive a recount, Grooms strategist Hogan Gidley told CQ Roll Call.

Full story

South Carolina: Elizabeth Colbert Busch Wins Democratic Primary

Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, won the Democratic nomination for South Carolina’s open 1st District on Tuesday, easily beating frequent candidate Ben Frasier in a special-election primary.

At 8:38 p.m., with 56 percent of precincts reporting, The Associated Press reported Colbert Busch had 95 percent to Frasier’s 5 percent.

Colbert has, so far, run a solid campaign, with significant fundraising and slick television ads. In her first spot, she shared her résumé — director of sales and marketing at a shipping company, director of business development at a former naval shipyard in North Charleston — and hammered home the message that she knew how to create jobs.

What went unmentioned was her political affiliation, which will be her biggest hurdle to coming to Congress. The comfortably Republican district voted 62 percent for then-Rep. Tim Scott in November 2012. After his appointment to the Senate, the seat became vacant, setting up this special election.

One Colbert Busch aide told CQ Roll Call that the general election campaign would be, more or less, “a nonpartisan attack on business as usual in Washington.”

Colbert Busch will face the winner of a Republican runoff on April 2.

The general election is May 7. CQ Roll Call rates the race as Likely Republican.

Rand Paul to Headline Lincoln Day Dinner in Iowa

Paul spoke at CPAC last week. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will headline an annual Republican event in Iowa next month, further signaling his interest in a 2016 presidential bid.

The announcement caps several high-profile weeks for Paul. On Saturday, he narrowly won the Conservative Political Action Committee straw poll, just after he delivered a rousing speech to the annual confab. Earlier this month, Paul filibustered for 13 hours John O. Brennan’s nomination to head the CIA.

And on Tuesday morning, Paul also announced support for a comprehensive immigration overhaul.

The Iowa Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner is one of its top fundraisers of the year. It’s a platform for budding White House contenders to warm up potential supporters in the first presidential caucus state, even a full two years before candidates will begin launching their campaigns.

Full story

Arkansas: Republican Poll Shows Pryor Vulnerability

Republicans plan to target Pryor's seat. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two conservative groups, Club for Growth Action and the Senate Conservatives Fund, released a new poll on Tuesday that shows Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., a top target in 2014.

In late January, 53 percent of those surveyed had a favorable opinion of Pryor, while 25 percent had an unfavorable opinion of him in the Basswood Research poll of likely voters. By mid-March poll, 36 had a favorable opinion of Pryor, while 36 percent had an unfavorable opinion of him.

Both organizations have recently aired paid advertisements against Pryor — this one from the club, and this one from SCF. The distilled message of the ads from both groups was that Pryor was not independent and votes a great deal of the time with Barack Obama.

Both ads were backed by moderate buy sizes, which Democrats argued casts doubt on the big shift in Pryor’s favorability.

Full story

Shop Talk: Top Democratic Mail Firm Mack|Crounse Breaks Up

The Mack|Crounse Group, a top Democratic direct-mail firm that worked on both of President Barack Obama’s campaigns, has dissolved.

Last week, the firm’s principals, Kevin Mack and Jim Crounse, announced the formation of their own direct-mail firms in separate emails to clients and colleagues.

“We’ve come to the realization that our client bases are very different, and in today’s world of firewalls, independent expenditures, and super PAC’s [sic], this is the best step for our clients, staff and ourselves,” Crounse wrote in his email, adding that it will “take a little time to unwind” the current firm. In fact, the company’s website is still up.

“After careful consideration and some soul-searching, I have decided to set-up [sic] a new direct mail/communications firm,” Mack wrote in another email. “Moving forward, the new firm will continue to offer the same strategic, design and production excellence that we always have.”

“In fact, every member of the ‘Mack Team’ will be joining me, including my top designers and production staff,” he added.

Full story

March 18, 2013

South Carolina: Sanford Is Front-Runner in 1st District Primary

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Voters in the coastal 1st District hit the polls Tuesday to cast ballots in the Democratic and Republican special-election primaries.

Insiders expect more than 30,000 people to vote in the Republican primary; 16 candidates will be on the ballot.

The front-runner is former Gov. Mark Sanford. He is expected to be the top vote-getter but will likely fall well short of 50 percent. If that happens, he will land in an April 2 runoff with the Republican who receives the second largest share of votes.

Insiders believe that the most likely candidates to make the runoff with Sanford are attorney Curtis Bostic, state Sen. Larry Grooms, former state Sen. John Kuhn, state Rep. Chip Limehouse and economics teacher Teddy Turner, the son of media mogul Ted Turner. Full story

New Poll Shows Support for Gay Marriage at All-Time High

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll found record high support — 58 percent — for gay marriage.

In a new survey released Monday, only 36 percent of those polled thought marriage for gay and lesbian couples should be illegal and 6 percent had no opinion.

Gay marriage has been one of the country’s fastest-shifting political issues of the decade. Just three years ago, the same poll found 47 percent of respondents favored legal gay marriage and 50 percent were against it.

The new numbers were released on the heels of two top officials — a Democrat and Republican — announcing that their views have evolved on the matter. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said last week that he now supports the right of gay people to get married. On Monday, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced via video that she has evolved to support same-sex marriage. Clinton is a possible 2016 presidential frontrunner.

youtube.com/watch?v=6RP9pbKMJ7c

Full story

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