Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 19, 2014

July 30, 2012

Missouri: McCaskill Trails All Republicans in Latest Poll

Missouri: McCaskill Trails All Republicans in Latest Poll

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Vulnerable Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is just that, according to a new poll released this weekend by two Missouri media outlets.

In horserace matchups, McCaskill trailed all three of her serious Republican primary opponents.

Businessman John Brunner, who has put millions of his own money into the race, did the best against McCaskill, garnering 52 percent to the Senator’s 41 percent. Former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman pulled 49 percent to McCaskill’s 41 percent. And Rep. Todd Akin got 49 percent to McCaskill’s 44 percent. Full story

July 27, 2012

North Dakota: Heidi Heitkamp Leads Rick Berg in Poll

North Dakota: Heidi Heitkamp Leads Rick Berg in Poll

A new Democratic poll shows Rep. Rick Berg (R) trailing former Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D). (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) led Rep. Rick Berg (R) 50 percent to 44 percent in a Senate race poll conducted for the North Dakota Democratic Party. Full story

Wisconsin: Kelda Helen Roys and Mark Pocan Exchange Criticism Over Ad

Wisconsin Assemblyman Mark Pocan (D) changed tactics in his race to succeed Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) in Wisconsin’s second district, launching a new television ad that defends his record and seeks to discredit criticism leveled by his primary opponent.

State Assemblywoman Kelda Helen Roys (D) wasted little time before responding. Her campaign called the spot as a “false, negative attack ad” that went against Pocan’s promise to run a clean campaign. Pocan had previously devoted his television advertising time to highlighting his accomplishments.

“He’s been telling voters that he was going to run a clean campaign and he caved,” said Roys campaign manager Rick Coelho. “It fits in with our core message that he caves when the going gets tough.”

The Pocan campaign said that it stands by the ad and responded to the Roys campaign in a statement to Roll Call.

“Our ad speaks for itself. Mark is running a positive campaign about providing real results to Wisconsinites,” said campaign manager Dan McNally in the statement. “We hope it sets the record straight after Rep. Roys’ attacks on his strong record as an effective progressive.”

Full story

Texas: Dewhurst, Cruz Launch Final Push in Senate Race

Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz are playing to their strengths in the final stretch before Tuesday’s GOP Senate runoff.

According to recently filed Federal Election Commission reports, Dewhurst has loaned his campaign an additional $8 million since his pre-runoff report. That brings his loan total to $24.5 million, according to the Houston Chronicle. Dewhurst’s personal fortune was always his greatest strength and he has proven willing to spend generously.

Part of that money will go toward a new television ad featuring Gov. Rick Perry (R).

Full story

100 Days From Election Day: Not What it Used to Be

100 Days From Election Day: Not What it Used to Be

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

On Sunday, the Nov. 6 elections will be just 100 days away.

But that milestone has become something of a misnomer in an era when two states conduct elections strictly through the mail, voters increasingly vote absentee and many states allow early in-person voting that continues to grow in popularity.

As a country, we’ll collectively be glued to our television screens (or mobile devices) on the evening of Election Day to find out who won the White House and the battle for Congress. But to a significant degree, the outcome could be decided long before then, particularly in a few of the states that really matter.

Full story

Tennessee: Weston Wamp Launches Last TV Ad

Congressional candidate Weston Wamp (R), the 25-year-old son of former Rep. Zach Wamp (R), went up on television with his final, unique ad.

Wamp, who hopes to unseat freshman Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R) in the state’s redrawn 3rd district, also faces dairy magnate Scottie Mayfield in the Aug. 2 primary. Fleischmann succeeded the elder Wamp, who retired in 2010 to run for governor, and the new 3rd district includes much of the territory he used to represent.

Full story

Washington: Suzan DelBene Donates $900K to Campaign This Month

Washington: Suzan DelBene Donates $900K to Campaign This Month

Suzan DelBene has self-funded her campaign to the tune of almost $2 million. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrat Suzan DelBene this month donated $900,000 to her campaign in Washington state’s 1st district, according to preprimary reports filed Thursday to the Federal Election Commission.

The former Microsoft executive has given her campaign a total of $1.9 million to date, dwarfing her opponents’ fundraising and allowing her a huge edge in spending. Since mid-June, DelBene has spent $1.3 million on TV and $365,000 on mail, according to figures from her past two FEC reports. Full story

Minnesota: Bill Clinton Endorses Tarryl Clark

Minnesota: Bill Clinton Endorses Tarryl Clark

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Bill Clinton has weighed in on yet another Democratic House primary, this time backing Tarryl Clark in Minnesota’s 8th district.

Clark, who lost to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) in 2010, moved to Duluth last year to challenge freshman Rep. Chip Cravaack (R). She faces a competitive Aug. 14 primary against former Rep. Rick Nolan and Duluth City Councilor Jeff Anderson. Full story

Massachusetts: Scott Brown Touts Democratic Mayor’s Backing

Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) began airing a new ad today, featuring former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn, a Democrat.

“Scott Brown is a person that I have great admiration for,” Flynn says to the camera, sitting in his living room. “I’ve found him to be a regular guy: honest, hardworking. He’s also an independent voice,” he adds, as b-roll of the Senator appears on screen.

“I’m a Democrat, but I’m tired of all the polarization, the pettiness, the bickering,” says Flynn, who served as mayor of the Bay State’s capital from 1984 to 1993. “Scott Brown is a person that you can work with. I mean, I’ve been involved in politics for almost 50 years. That’s the name of the game, electing people you can trust. I think that person really is Scott Brown.”

A source familiar with the buy said the ad was backed by $426,000 on broadcast and cable television statewide, today through Aug. 5. There was also a $25,000 buy on WJAR, the NBC affiliate in Providence, R.I., which reaches a chunk of southeastern Massachusetts, from Aug. 6 through Aug. 12.

Brown is locked in tight race with Democrat Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard professor and consumer advocate. In a state that will vote for President Barack Obama, Brown has worked to position himself as a solutions-oriented, independent Senator. Ads like this one would appear to help burnish his bipartisan credentials, especially with an important swing block of blue-collar voters.

Roll Call rates the Massachusetts Senate race as a Tossup.

July 26, 2012

Michigan: A Bizarre 14th District Debate

Michigan: A Bizarre 14th District Debate

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

DETROIT — Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-Mich.) sat in the audience Thursday night, quietly listening to his opponents debate.

Four candidates — including his colleague, Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) — touted their credentials for the seat, while Clarke sat out of the debate, watching among a small crowd in the Wayne State University Law School auditorium.

Last month, Clarke said he would no longer participate in debates because of “racist rhetoric” in the 14th district race. But in a bizarre evening, Clarke appeared at the National Association of Black Journalists forum anyway to promote his struggling candidacy.

“I thought this was the proper forum for everyone to actually compare who we are as people, and for me to be able to address firsthand any issues,” Clarke told reporters afterward. “I felt it was important for me to be here and be available at this one time.”

Full story

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hits the Airwaves in Five States

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has hit the airwaves in Florida, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin with television ads targeting Democratic Senate candidates.

The chamber is also targeting independent Senate candidate former Gov. Angus King in Maine. The ads criticize the candidates on a range of issues, including support for the Affordable Care Act, proposals to increase taxes and votes on energy issues.

“With so much at stake in this election, the Chamber will continue to execute the largest voter education campaign in our history,” chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue said in a statement. “We will support candidates who will fight for free enterprise and oppose those who consistently support more government and stand in the way of economic growth and job creation.”

Independent expenditure reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show that the chamber spent more than $5.3 million on ad buys and production costs for the series of spots. The group typically spends heavily to defeat Democratic candidates.

The chamber vowed to continue its efforts into the coming months in a press release. Full story

Maine: Chamber Goes After Angus King

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce began airing an ad this week against Maine Senate frontrunner Angus King (I), knocking him for his financial management of the Pine Tree State during his eight-year tenure as governor.

The Chamber backs Republican Charlie Summers, who faces an uphill battle for the open seat of retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe (R). The effectiveness of the ad in knocking down King — widely liked in Maine — will probably go a long way to determining whether national Republicans make a push for the seat at all this fall.

Full story

Michigan: Kerry Bentivolio Nabs Rand Paul Endorsement

LIVONIA, Mich. — Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) backed reindeer rancher Kerry Bentivolio’s (R) bid for the 11th district today.

Paul’s endorsement lends Bentivolio’s campaign additional credibility ahead of the Aug. 7 primary.

Bentivolio is the only Republican on primary ballot, but local GOP officials are supporting former state Sen. Nancy Cassis (R) as a write-in candidate because they view her as a more viable candidate.

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R) resigned from the 11th district seat earlier this month after failing gather enough signatures to make the ballot.

This marks Bentivolio’s second Congressional endorsement. He already picked up the support of freshman Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.).

Michigan Republican Reps. Tim Walberg and Mike Rogers backed Cassis.

The district leans Republican, according to Roll Call’s race ratings. But that could change depending on the primary results.

Connecticut: Former Chris Donovan Campaign Manager Charged

Updated 5:44 p.m. | State Speaker Chris Donovan’s (D) former campaign manager, Joshua Nassi, has been charged in connection with a contribution scandal that has put the Donovan campaign for the 5th district on the skids, according to the Danbury News Times.

Federal authorities have spent the past several months investigating an alleged quid pro quo scheme involving donations to the Donovan campaign and tobacco tax legislation in the state House. Nassi was dismissed from the campaign in early June.

Full story

Arizona: David Schweikert Up Over Ben Quayle in Internal Poll

Arizona: David Schweikert Up Over Ben Quayle in Internal Poll

There had been rumblings in Arizona political circles of an internal campaign poll showing a wide lead for Rep. David Schweikert for several days. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 10:05 p.m. | Rep. David Schweikert led fellow Republican Rep. Ben Quayle by 16 points in a recent Schweikert campaign internal poll.

The two Congressmen are engaged in a blockbuster Member-vs.-Member race for Arizona’s 6th district that has caught the attention of state Republicans. According to the survey from this past Sunday, 49 percent of respondents supported Schweikert, while 33 percent said they intended to vote for Quayle.

There had been rumblings in Arizona political circles of an internal campaign poll showing a wide Schweikert lead for several days.

The poll, conducted by Adam Geller of National Research Inc., was conducted July 22 and was a live telephone survey. It included 300 “likely GOP primary voters” and had a margin of error of 5.66 points.

Whoever wins this race will likely have a lock on the district for years to come. Roll Call rates this race as Safe Republican.

Updated 10:05 p.m.

A source in the Quayle camp said that it is a close race and Schweikert is “not ahead.”

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