Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 18, 2014

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

Daily Ad Track

Here’s what cut through the clutter today.

Wisconsin Senate 

It took Rep. Tammy Baldwin (R) less than 24 hours to fire back against an ad from former Gov. Tommy Thompson’s (R) campaign accusations that she has not honored 9/11 victims.

Full story

Indiana: Richard Mourdock Apologizes to Those Who Misunderstood Comments

Indiana: Richard Mourdock Apologizes to Those Who Misunderstood Comments

(Tom Strattman/Associated Press)

Updated 3:45 p.m. | INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) sought to clarify his controversial debate comment that pregnancies resulting from rape are “something that God intended to happen” this morning, apologizing to those who misunderstood his remarks but standing by their intended meaning.

“If, because of the lack of clarity in my words, they came away with the impression other than those I said a moment ago, that life is precious, that I abhor violence, and God abhors violence and rape. If they came away with any impression other than that, I truly regret it,” Mourdock said at a press conference at Indiana Republican Party headquarters

Mourdock choked up repeatedly during the press conference, declaring himself a “more humble person this morning because so many people mistook, twisted, came to misunderstand the point that I was trying to make.” But when pressed about his apology, Mourdock defended the original intent behind his statement. Full story

Jesse Jackson Jr. Back in Mayo Clinic, Future Uncertain

Jesse Jackson Jr. Back in Mayo Clinic, Future Uncertain

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Embattled Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is back at the Mayo Clinic for a “follow-up evaluation,” and a lawmaker friend said bluntly that it is unclear if the Illinois Democrat will return to Congress, according to press reports.

Full story

Wisconsin: Tammy Baldwin Responds to Tommy Thompson’s 9/11 Ad

Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) today responded to a searing ad released Tuesday by former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) that attempted to paint his opponent for Wisconsin’s open Senate seat as unpatriotic because of her 2006 vote against a resolution involving the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Hoping to mitigate any potential damage caused by Thompson’s spot, which showed images of a charred building and fliers of missing persons from 9/11, Baldwin’s team released a retaliatory ad claiming that Thompson profited off of 9/11 victims, citing an $11 million contract won by Logistics Health, Inc. while Thompson was board chairman.

“Tommy Thompson should be ashamed,” the ad concludes, showing the former Health and Human Services secretary’s image and a variation of a tagline the campaign has been using in most of its negative spots: “Tommy, he’s not for you anymore.”

Full story

California: Steny Hoyer Backs Howard Berman Over Brad Sherman

California: Steny Hoyer Backs Howard Berman Over Brad Sherman

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer has endorsed Rep. Howard Berman. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has endorsed California Rep. Howard Berman in his heated, redistricting-forced race with fellow Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman.

“Howard Berman is a highly-respected leader sought after by his colleagues from both parties for his expertise in both domestic and foreign policy, and world affairs,” Hoyer said in a statement posted to Berman’s campaign Facebook page. “Howard Berman is respected by both Republicans and Democrats because of his approach as a legislator and decency as an individual. It would be a great loss to the country if Howard Berman did not return to serve in the Congress of the United States.” Full story

Indiana: John Cornyn Stands by Richard Mourdock After Abortion Comments

Indiana: John Cornyn Stands by Richard Mourdock After Abortion Comments

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

INDIANAPOLIS — National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) is standing by his nominee in Indiana, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who said pregnancy that results from rape “is something God intended to happen” in the final Senate debate Tuesday night.

Mourdock was answering a question about abortion and explaining his position that he is against the procedure in all cases except when the life of the mother is at risk. He faces Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly, who is also anti-abortion-rights but believes in exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.

“Richard and I, along with millions of Americans – including even Joe Donnelly – believe that life is a gift from God,” Cornyn said in a statement emailed to reporters this morning. “To try and construe his words as anything other than a restatement of that belief is irresponsible and ridiculous. In fact, rather than condemning him for his position, as some in his party have when it’s come to Republicans, I commend Congressman Donnelly for his support of life.” Full story

California: Flurry of Polling in Close 52nd District

California: Flurry of Polling in Close 52nd District

San Diego Port Commissioner Scott Peters (above) is in what appears to be a close race with Rep. Brian Bilbray. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A flurry of polls were released over the last few days in the battleground 52nd district, where Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) is attempting to hold off a challenge from San Diego Port Commissioner Scott Peters (D).

Until now, there had been a dearth of polling on this competitive race. None of the three polls now out match each other, and the race is likely closer than any of the numbers suggest.

Sixty percent of the redrawn district is new to Bilbray, and the race has attracted a torrent of outside spending in recent weeks as both parties push to get out the early vote for this race and the competitive mayoral election.

Full story

Massachusetts: Scott Brown Hits Elizabeth Warren on Medicare; Warren Hits Back

Massachusetts: Scott Brown Hits Elizabeth Warren on Medicare; Warren Hits Back

Sen. Scott Brown talks with senior citizens during a visit Friday to Fenno House in Qunicy, Mass. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

QUINCY, Mass. — Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) arrived last week here at Fenno House, an assisted and independent living facility, in his famous GMC truck with a package of sausage and a message about Medicare.

He handed the sausage, in a brown paper bag, to a member of Fenno House’s staff. “They’re frozen,” Brown said. “Give ‘em to the kitchen. I just got them down in Brockton, but I’m not going home.”

And then Brown went into the activity room of the facility. Fenno House serves people who are 62 or older, and Brown spoke to an audience of almost exclusively senior citizens about cuts to the beloved entitlement program. Full story

October 23, 2012

In Debate, Richard Mourdock Says Pregnancy From Rape Something ‘God Intended to Happen’

NEW ALBANY, Ind. — In the final, high-stakes debate before Election Day, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) touched on an issue that has bedeviled another Republican Senate candidate, saying that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

“I just, I struggled with it myself for a long time,” Mourdock said as he teared up. “But I came to realize that life is that gift from God.”


Full story

Missouri: Todd Akin Campaign Publishes Email Exchange With Local Reporter

The Senate campaign of Rep. Todd Akin (R) has taken the unusual step of posting an email exchange with a reporter on its campaign website.

On Tuesday afternoon, the campaign posted an email exchange between Akin senior adviser Rick Tyler and Kevin McDermott, a political reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, in which McDermott sought a response from the Akin campaign for a story he was writing.

“I guess when you’re down double-digits and your campaign is the laughingstock of the election cycle, maybe they figure they have nothing left to lose. But it doesn’t say a lot about their integrity and seriousness as a Senate campaign,” one GOP strategist said in response to the post.

Full story

Romney Group Could Advertise in Maine

Romney Group Could Advertise in Maine

A super PAC supporting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is considering going on the air in Maine. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A super PAC supporting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is considering going on television in Maine, the Portland Press-Herald reported. According to CNN, the pro-Romney group, Restore Our Future, has already reserved air time in the state.

Restore Our Future has identified Maine’s more rural 2nd district as a target for possible ad spending if funds become available, according to a recent email to the super PAC’s donors that was obtained by Time’s Mark Halperin. In Maine, (and Nebraska,) electoral votes are not awarded on a winner-take-all basis, but rather to the victor in each Congressional district.

“As the Romney-Ryan momentum grows, and more states become within reach, the needs list grows,” the email said, demonstrating that campaigns and outside groups are leaving no stone unturned in the search for electoral votes.

A Press-Herald poll released at the beginning of this month showed that while President Barack Obama had an insurmountable lead in Maine’s coastal 1st district, the story could be quite different in the 2nd district, which encompasses much of the state’s more rural, inland territory. There, Obama had a 5 point lead over Romney, the survey revealed, suggesting to Republicans that they have a chance to pick off an electoral vote in the state.

Full story

Daily Ad Track

It’s late October, and political ads today are scarier than Ethan Hawke’s new horror movie.

If political advertising is your source of information, the world is full of deadbeat dads, people who don’t care about 9/11 victims and folks who don’t protect children.

Here’s what cut through the clutter:

Wisconsin Senate

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson’s (R) campaign has accused Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) of not honoring 9/11 victims in a new statewide ad. The Baldwin campaign did not waste any time issuing a news release and pushing back on the matter.

“The fact that Tommy Thompson would question Tammy Baldwin’s patriotism and love of America is offensive and disgusting,” Baldwin spokesman John Kraus said. “Thompson’s fear mongering and scare tactics will be rejected by the people of Wisconsin.”

Illinois 8 

Everyone pretty much expected this ad to be in the can, but what makes it a bit surprising is that it actually hit the air. It is well-known that Rep. Joe Walsh (R) has had to deal with bad press because of allegations of not paying child support. His Democratic rival, veteran Tammy Duckworth, seemed to have put some serious distance between herself and Walsh, but the fact that she is going so negative is sure to raise some eyebrows.

Rhode Island 1

And on Monday, Rep. David Cicilline (D) was on the receiving end of one heck of a nasty ad from his challenger, Republican Brendan Doherty. Within 24 hours, his team turned around a response ad. Ad spending has been extremely heavy in this Providence-area district.

Meredith Shiner contributed to this report.

Pennsylvania: Bob Casey’s Team Disowns Media Consultant’s Comments

Pennsylvania: Bob Caseys Team Disowns Media Consultants Comments

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell was recently criticized by a member of Sen. Bob Casey's team. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Sen. Bob Casey is distancing himself from his media consultant, Saul Shorr, and comments the adviser made criticizing former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D).

Rendell recently tweaked the Casey campaign, accusing it of taking Republican Senate nominee Tom Smith too lightly. Shorr didn’t take kindly to Rendell’s criticism, and let him know that publicly. But in a Saturday evening email to campaign contributors, Casey campaign manager Larry Smar attempted to put daylight between the Senator and Shorr.

“If you’ve ever met a media consultant, you will likely know that sometimes their words and combative instincts can get ahead of reality and better judgment,” Smar wrote.

Smar’s comments are the latest fallout from Rendell’s comments about Casey’s race — two sometimes competing forces in Pennsylvania Democratic politics. The exchange came just two weeks before Election Day, when Casey will attempt to fend off a challenge from Smith, a personally wealthy former coal company owner. Roll Call rates this race as Leans Democratic.

So it didn’t help when Rendell told the Scranton Times-Tribune last week that Casey “hasn’t run a campaign. He’s run one ad, a stupid Tea Party ad.” He also called Casey’s effort a “non-campaign up until now,” but the outspoken former governor made it clear that he expects the Senator to prevail on Election Day.

Full story

Indiana: Internal Poll Shows Joe Donnelly Holds 2-Point Lead

Indiana: Internal Poll Shows Joe Donnelly Holds 2 Point Lead

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

MADISON, Ind. — Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) will release internal polling today showing him with a 2-point lead over his Senate opponent, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R).

Donnelly leads Mourdock, 40 percent to 38 percent, in the survey paid for by the Democrat’s campaign. A Libertarian candidate, Andrew Horning, recieved 8 percent in that survey.

Two weeks before Election Day, the Indiana Senate race remains highly competitive. Roll Call rates it as a Tossup. On Tuesday night, the candidates will meet for their second and final debate in New Albany.

Public polling of the race is rare because of the Hoosier State’s restrictions on automated calls. But a mid-September, bipartisan poll from Howey Politics Indiana showed similar results.

Mourdock’s internal polling from early October showed the GOP nominee with a 3-point lead.

Global Strategy Group conducted Donnelly’s poll of 603 likely voters from Oct. 17 to 21. The margin of error is 4 points.

See Donnelly’s full polling memo here.

More coverage of the Rust Belt Road Trip here.

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...