Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 24, 2014

November 13, 2012

Kentucky: Actress Ashley Judd Stokes Mitch McConnell Challenge Talk

Kentucky: Actress Ashley Judd Stokes Mitch McConnell Challenge Talk

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the political world began to transition from 2012 to 2014 last week, some of the most tantalizing buzz centered around actress Ashley Judd and the possibility that she might seek the Democratic nomination to run against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“I cherish Kentucky, heart and soul, and while I’m very honored by the consideration, we have just finished an election, so let’s focus on coming together to keep moving America’s families, and especially our kids, forward,” she said in a statement Nov. 9, according to The Associated Press.

Recent comments from Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., also gave the story legs. Full story

Illinois: Speculation Increases Over Special Election for Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s Seat

Illinois: Speculation Increases Over Special Election for Jesse L. Jackson Jr.s Seat

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Special election speculation swirled this weekend amid reports that Democratic Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. could resign his seat as part of a plea deal with federal investigators.

CBS Chicago reported Jackson has not pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, but he’s discussing a deal that includes his resignation by the end of the year, plus some jail time.

Possible Democratic candidates who would run to succeed Jackson include Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly and state Sens. Toi Hutchinson and Napoleon Harris, a former linebacker for Northwestern University, according to several Illinois sources. Full story

November 12, 2012

Five House Races Still Outstanding

Five House Races Still Outstanding

Rep. Ron Barber leads his GOP challenger, but the race has not yet been called. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Five House races remain unresolved almost a week after Election Day.

The two main developments since Friday in uncalled races were in California and Arizona. Earlier today, Democratic former state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema won the race against Republican Vernon Parker in Arizona’s 9th district. On Friday night, Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R) formally conceded to Democrat Raul Ruiz. Here are the races still up in the air: Full story

Arizona: Kyrsten Sinema Declared Winner in 9th District

Arizona: Kyrsten Sinema Declared Winner in 9th District

Democrat Krysten Sinema has been declared the winner in Arizona's 9th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Democratic state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has officially defeated Republican Vernon Parker in Arizona’s 9th District race, according to The Associated Press.

The narrow margin between Sinema and Parker put the race into overtime and led to a delay in declaring a winner, but Sinema has slowly increased her lead since Election Day.

Looking forward, this Phoenix-area seat will remain highly competitive. It is a new seat created after reapportionment and Sinema will be the first person to occupy it. Full story

November 10, 2012

Arizona: Reid Adds Voice to Arizona Ballot Counting Frustrations

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seemed to echo the frustrations of Arizonans today when he issued a statement on the ongoing ballot counting in the state.

“All of the votes in Arizona must be counted promptly, accurately and equally!” the Nevada Democrat said in a written statement. “The uncounted votes in Maricopa County alone represent a major portion of the total votes cast in Arizona on Tuesday.”

“I expect state and local officials in Arizona to ensure that every vote is counted promptly, accurately and equally,” he added.

The Associated Press and most news organizations called the Senate race between Republican Rep. Jeff Flake and former Surgeon General Richard Carona earlier this week. There are two outstanding House races in Arizona.

But the outstanding ballot sum is much greater than the margin between Flake and Carmona. At least one smart state Democrat is not completely ruling out an upset when the votes are finally tallied.

Arizona’s 2nd is the House race with the most uncertainty. As of this writing, retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally was barely leading Democratic Rep. Ron Barber. Sources from both parties strongly warn that any lead until after the weekend is tenuous. Expect more see-sawing.

In Arizona’s 9th, former Democratic state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has held onto her lead over Republican Rep. Vernon Parker, but it has yet to be called.

Arizona political strategists became increasingly frustrated with the state’s slow ballot counting for several reasons, most notably, clerical errors and a large number of provisional ballots.

November 9, 2012

California: Mary Bono Mack Concedes

California: Mary Bono Mack Concedes

Rep. Mary Bono Mack conceded on Friday night. Her husband, Rep. Connie Mack IV, also lost his bid for Senate this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) today conceded her race to Democrat Raul Ruiz, who joins a large freshman contingent in the state’s Congressional delegation.

Ruiz was leading Bono Mack by 4,679 votes as of Thursday evening, with thousands of absentee and provisional ballots still to count.

“Dr. Ruiz will do a fine job if he is guided as well by the people of the Congressional district as I was. Please give him the opportunity to succeed,” Bono Mack said in a statement.

Ruiz, a physician, was a top recruit of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which launched a media campaign against Bono Mack in mid-September. That set off a spending war among outside groups from both sides, as the district moved squarely onto the competitive playing field. Full story

Day Three: Outstanding House Races

Here is the state of some House races that have yet to be officially called or have a victor declared.

Arizona 2nd

Rep. Ron Barber (D) has taken a 600 vote lead over retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally (R), but it is still too early to assume that his lead will hold. There are simply too many outstanding ballots to be counted to do much tea leaf reading at this point.

Arizona 9th

Former state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D) saw her lead over former Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker increase from Thursday. While there are a number of ballots still to be counted, at least one Republican operative familiar with this race is growing more pessimistic about his party’s chances of winning this seat.

Full story

November 8, 2012

Handful of House Races Still Uncalled

The 113th Congress isn’t set yet. The winners in six House races remain unclear.

Here’s an update on those races:

  • In Arizona’s 2nd district, retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally (R) led Rep. Ron Barber (D), but there are early ballots and provisional ballots left to be counted. Both parties felt confident that the outcome of this race would be in their favor, but it might take a while to find out who is right. “It’s just gonna drag on there for a week or two,” one Arizona Democratic political insider said.
  • In Arizona’s new 9th district, former state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D) led ex-Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker (R) by about 2,700 votes, but many, many ballots remained to be counted, and the race has not yet been called by the Associated Press.
  • In California’s 7th district, physician Ami Bera (D) led Rep. Dan Lungren (R) by the slimmest of margins — 184 votes, according to the AP. A margin like that could make this race ripe for a recount, which must be requested by one of the candidates. Full story

Team Obama Takes Victory Lap

Team Obama Takes Victory Lap

A crowd gathers in front of the White House on Tuesday to celebrate President Barack Obama's re-election. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama’s campaign team took a final victory lap this afternoon, boasting of statistics in battleground states that brought their candidate a resounding victory on Tuesday.

A successful coalition of Hispanic, black and female voters delivered wins in key battleground states, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina emphasized in a conference call with reporters.

Messina declared that Obama won a “record” 71 percent of the Latino vote. He said minority turnout increased to 28 percent this cycle, while women maintained their same percentage as in 2008.

“The issues that Latino voters care about, like everyone else, are the economy, jobs, education,” Messina said. “But they watched the Republican party in the primary use them as a political football.”

Full story

John Thune Seeks Re-Election as Conference Chairman

John Thune Seeks Re Election as Conference Chairman

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After considering other posts within the Senate Republican leadership, Sen. John Thune (S.D.) today said he would run for re-election as Republican Conference chairman.

“America continues to face enormous challenges and the consequences have never been greater,” Thune said in a release. “Our country is at a crossroads and communicating our positive Republican vision to grow the economy, create jobs, and restore our nation’s fiscal health couldn’t be more important. Senate Republicans have solutions and we will work hard to aggressively take our message directly to the American people.”

Full story

November 7, 2012

Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kelly, Ron Barber to Confront Jared Lee Loughner at Sentencing

When Jared Lee Loughner appears in court Thursday for his sentencing, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) will be there to see it. Giffords’s husband, Mark Kelly, plans to directly address the man who seriously injured his wife and killed six people, ABC News reported Wednesday evening.

Others survivors expected to speak include Rep. Ron Barber, who was an aide to Giffords and replaced her in the House, and former Giffords aide Pam Simon.

KPHO in Phoenix reported that shooting survivor Mavy Stoddard also plans to be among those to confront Loughner, who reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in August that spared him the death penalty. He is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Ann Kirkpatrick Wins in Arizona; Six House Races Still Outstanding

It’s official: Former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) is coming back to Congress.

She led GOP rival Jonathan Paton by about 7,000 votes at the time the Associated Press called the race late on Wednesday afternoon.

Redistricting improved the district for Democrats, but Kirkpatrick’s road back to Congress was not assured. She had a strong start to her campaign, but Republicans blitzed Arizona television with negative advertising against her.

In other races that were called Wednesday afternoon, Democrats and Republicans traded gains. Full story

Jerry Moran: I Have Enough Support to Win NRSC Chairmanship

Jerry Moran: I Have Enough Support to Win NRSC Chairmanship

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) announced today that he has acquired enough support to win the National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman post in the upcoming leadership elections.

“I have a sufficient number of commitments that if the election is held, I would be successful in becoming the chair,” Moran told Roll Call in an afternoon phone interview.

Moran declined to give an exact number of Senators who support him, but his proclamation comes hours after Sen. Rob Portman’s (Ohio) allies reported he’s also mulling the gig. Portman is well-liked among his colleagues, who see him as a strong fundraiser and winner of a battleground state.

Full story

North Dakota: Rick Berg Concedes to Heidi Heitkamp

North Dakota: Rick Berg Concedes to Heidi Heitkamp

Rep. Rick Berg conceded the North Dakota Senate race on Wednesday. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Rick Berg (R) conceded to former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) in the North Dakota Senate race. It was the final outstanding Senate race of the the 2012 cycle.

This means that out of the seriously competitive Senate races, Republicans only won one Democratic-held seat. It also means that Democrats will have a majority of 55 Senators, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and assuming that Sen.-elect Angus King (I) of Maine will caucus with the party.

Republicans, who a year ago were expected to pick up seats and possibly the majority, actually lost 2 seats and will hold 45 seats in the 113th Congress.

Rob Portman Mulling NRSC Chairmanship

Rob Portman Mulling NRSC Chairmanship

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rob Portman is considering a bid for National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, a post his colleagues have asked him to consider running for.

However, the Ohio Republican has made no decisions, a source close to Portman told Roll Call this afternoon. Politico first reported news of Portman’s interest in running the NRSC.

Full story

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