Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 1, 2014

November 15, 2012

Tennessee: GOP Leaders Silent as Drip of DesJarlais Headlines Continues

Tennessee: GOP Leaders Silent as Drip of DesJarlais Headlines Continues

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican leaders on Capitol Hill were largely silent as new revelations stemming from Rep. Scott DesJarlais’ messy decade-old divorce came to light Thursday.

The office of Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio declined to comment on a report in the Chattanooga Times Free Press that said the Tennessee lawmaker and doctor had “sexual relationships with at least two patients, three coworkers and a drug representative while he was chief of staff at Grandview Medical Center in Jasper, Tenn.” The paper also reported that records showed DesJarlais “supported his ex-wife’s decision to get two abortions before their marriage.”

The revelations came from DesJarlais’ 2001 sworn testimony from his divorce trial. A staunch social conservative, the freshman Congressman has run for office as an anti-abortion candidate.

At votes Thursday afternoon, DesJarlais was seen having an intense conversation with Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan on the House floor. Jordan is the outgoing chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee. Full story

Israel Taps Ward as New DCCC Executive Director

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York announced Thursday that he has picked Kelly Ward as the committee’s executive director for the 2014 cycle.

Ward served as the DCCC’s political director during the 2012 cycle and as a DCCC regional political director during the 2010 cycle.

“I couldn’t be happier or prouder that Kelly Ward will be our new Executive Director,” Israel said in a statement. “Kelly brings the right mix of smart political instincts and experienced leadership to aggressively take on this Tea Party Republican majority.”

Ward will succeed current Executive Director Robby Mook, who is moving on to run Terry McAuliffe’s gubernatorial campaign in Virginia. Full story

Top DCCC Aide to Run McAuliffe’s Gubernatorial Bid

Top DCCC Aide to Run McAuliffes Gubernatorial Bid

Mook, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's executive director, is moving on to work McAuliffe's gubernatorial campaign. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Executive Director Robby Mook is headed across the Potomac to work on former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe’s nascent Virginia gubernatorial campaign, according to a CNN report.

Mook has been on the political scene for the past decade.

Mook ran the DCCC’s independent expenditure arm in 2010 and has worked for a who’s who of high profile Democratic campaigns. He also has Old Dominion experience; he managed a successful 2005 state delegate campaign.

 

November 14, 2012

Senate Republicans Pick Moran to Run NRSC

Senate Republicans Pick Moran to Run NRSC

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Republicans unanimously elected Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran to serve as chairman of their campaign arm for the 2014 cycle and also named Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas to serve as vice chairmen of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Portman will be vice chairman of finance, and Cruz will be vice chairman for grass roots. Moran was unopposed for the job.

Democrats face a daunting cycle in 2014, when the party must defend 20 seats — many of which are in traditionally conservative states such as Alaska and South Dakota. But the NRSC was plagued by divisive primaries during the past two cycles, costing the party at least five seats. The Senate GOP must win six seats to retake the majority. Full story

Israel Returns for Second Round as Chairman of the DCCC

Israel Returns for Second Round as Chairman of the DCCC

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday to colleagues that the caucus campaign chief, New York Rep. Steve Israel, will stay on for a second cycle.

Israel will run the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee again in 2014.

Pelosi made the impromptu announcement to her colleagues at their morning meeting —much to Israel’s surprise, according to a source. The caucus responded with a standing ovation and cheered, “two more years.”

Israel guided the committee this cycle to pick up seven seats, although a few races have yet to be called.

As long as these gains hold, House Democrats must pick up 18 seats to win the majority in 2014.

Virginia Democrats Look For New Party Chairman

Brian Moran announced Wednesday that he will step down next month as state Democratic Party chairman after one term, and one candidate to replace him has already lined up major support.

State Del. Charniele Herring released a statement within hours of Moran’s announcement that her candidacy for the chairmanship has the backing of Moran and gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The next state party chairman will oversee the 2013 gubernatorial and state legislative elections, as well as the 2014 midterms.

Moran leaves after a cycle in which President Barack Obama carried Virginia and former Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, won the state’s open Senate seat. Moran, the brother of Democratic Rep. James P. Moran, said the party over the past two years “laid the foundation to continue our momentum and elect our candidates in 2013 and beyond.”

Kaine defeated former Gov. George Allen in the Senate race by 6 points and more than 200,000 votes. Allen, who also lost his race for re-election to the Senate in 2006, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Monday that he will not run for public office again.

Day 9: Latest Update on Outstanding House Races

Day 9: Latest Update on Outstanding House Races

Patrick Murphy is on Capitol Hill this week for new member orientation even though his race against Rep. Allen B. West hasn't been called yet. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic candidates continue to hold on to their small leads in the five outstanding House races. Here are the latest numbers as of Wednesday afternoon:

  • Arizona’s 2nd
    Democratic Rep. Ron Barber has about a 650 vote lead over Republican Martha McSally, according to the Arizona Secretary of State Office’s latest numbers.
  • California’s 7th
    Democrat Ami Bera is well ahead of Republican Rep. Dan Lungren by about 3,800 votes. Full story

Republicans Pick Walden as New NRCC Chairman

Republicans Pick Walden as New NRCC Chairman

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions is passing the baton to Rep. Greg Walden, his deputy. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans tapped Oregon Rep. Greg Walden as the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee for the 2014 cycle. Walden, who ran unopposed, succeeds Texas Rep. Pete Sessions, who oversaw two successful cycles, in which Republicans won and held the chamber.

Walden, Sessions’ longtime deputy, was magnanimous in his victory.

“Under Chairman Sessions’ leadership at the NRCC, House Republicans have won the two biggest majorities since World War II. I have big, Texas-sized boots to fill,” he said in a statement. “But as Pete’s deputy for the last four years, I’ve helped implement a shared vision for the NRCC and now seek to build on that foundation.” Full story

Kentucky: EMILY’s List President Hopeful About Judd Run

The head of EMILY’s List said Wednesday that she is encouraged that Ashley Judd hasn’t closed the door to a challenge to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., next year, but said she’s far from certain the actress will run.

“We’ve had some initial conversations with Ashley Judd,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock said in an interview. EMILY’s List is an advocacy group promoting female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights.

Schriock noted that Judd attended this year’s Democratic National Convention and spoke on a panel sponsored by EMILY’s List and Marie Claire.

“She was on our panel in Charlotte,” she said. “She did a fantastic job, a fantastic job. She wowed the crowd. The crowd literally started saying, ‘Run Ashley, run!’ in that meeting. She has such great desire for public service and she wants to find the best way to do that.”

When asked whether she thought Judd would ultimately run, Schriock said “I don’t know.”

Walden, NRCC Fundraise Off of Pelosi News

Walden, NRCC Fundraise Off of Pelosi News

Walden, the expected new National Republican Congressional Committee chairman, wasted little time in fundraising off of Pelosi's decision to stay as Democratic leader. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Greg Walden, Ore., is not officially the new National Republican Congressional Committee chairman, but he is already fundraising like he is.

Walden, who is running unopposed for the post, emailed NRCC supporters Wednesday about the news that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Calif., will continue to lead the Democratic Caucus.

“So Pelosi is not going to retire — even though you and I have put her in the Minority for two straight elections,” Walden wrote. “They’re going to let the most liberal Democrat there is run the most liberal House Democratic Caucus ever…We want to send a message to former Speaker Pelosi and her far-left colleagues that America can’t afford what they’re selling.” Full story

Massachusetts: Another Bay State Special?

Massachusetts: Another Bay State Special?

Brown may get another chance to run for Senate if Obama appoints Kerry to his cabinet. (Tom Willaims/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry has long been floated as a potential pick for President Barack Obama’s second secretary of State. The Washington Post recently floated him as in the running for secretary of Defense as well.

Obama would, of course, risk losing one of Massachusetts’ Democratic-held Senate seats in a special election if Kerry joined his cabinet. Nonetheless, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Wednesday that he would support the nomination of Kerry to a cabinet post and that he was not too concerned about the risk of another special election in Massachusetts.

“I’ll do everything I can to help him if he’s chosen, and we feel very comfortable if in fact something does happen — we feel comfortable in Massachusetts. I think that I’ve already told you how I feel about Scott Brown,” Reid said, in reference to comments made earlier in the news conference about the outgoing GOP senator from Massachusetts.

Full story

Florida: West Saga Continues

Florida: West Saga Continues

West has refused to concede his close race and is now asking for a recount of some ballots. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Allen B. West, R-Fla., who trails his Democratic opponent with 100 percent of precincts reporting, went to court Tuesday, asking a judge to order a recount of all early votes in St. Lucie County, one of three counties in the reconfigured 18th district.

West also asked the court to keep the county “from certifying results of the election for the 18th Congressional District until all ballots cast during the early voting period have been counted,” according to a campaign statement.

The crux of the issue: the county recounted only some of the early votes after it said it would recount all of them. The St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections is a Democrat and the West campaign alleges impropriety.

Full story

Portman, Cruz to Serve as NRSC Vice Chairmen

Portman, Cruz to Serve as NRSC Vice Chairmen

Portman will be vice chairman of finance for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:37 p.m.| Senate Republicans named Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas to serve as vice chairmen of the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Wednesday.

The duo will support the NRSC’s newly elected chairman, Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas, who ran unopposed for the gig. Portman will be vice chairman of finance, and Cruz will be vice chairman for grass roots.

Senate Republicans also voted this morning to elevate Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to be minority whip and re-elected Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as minority leader. This is the fourth leadership election in which McConnell has been unopposed for the post.

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida both spoke on McConnell’s behalf in the meeting before the election was held, according to their respective staffs. “Mitch unifies all of us, regardless of philosophy or what part of the country we come from. He’s the smartest political mind around and a great listener,” Rubio said in his speech. “Above all else, what Mitch cares about is whether we succeed as a conference and as a country, and that’s why I’m proud to nominate him for another term as leader.”

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota was re-elected as Republican Conference chairman. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri was re-elected as Republican Conference vice chairman and Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming was re-elected as Republican policy committee chairman. None of the leadership posts was contested. Full story

November 13, 2012

Portman Rules Out NRSC Bid

Portman Rules Out NRSC Bid

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio will not run for National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman in Wednesday’s leadership elections, according to a GOP aide familiar with his decision.

“He was honored to hear from so many asking him to consider running,” the aide said. “It was not something he had ever given much thought to, but he decided it’s best to keep his focus on some of these huge policy issues that we face as a nation.”

Portman’s decision means the post will likely go to Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas, the only candidate to publicly express interest in the post. Moran told Roll Call last week that he’s been running for the seat for at least six months, lobbying his colleagues for support. He announced last week that he had enough votes to win the race — although he declined to give a specific figure.

Portman’s decision may come as a disappointment to Senate Republicans who praised his fundraising prowess, both in his southern Ohio base and in financial centers such as New York. In 2012, Portman was the top fundraiser for the NRSC in the freshman class.

Illinois: Walsh Floats Statewide Bid

Illinois: Walsh Floats Statewide Bid

Rep. Joe Walsh is considering his political future after he his lost re-election bid. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Outgoing Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., didn’t rule out a statewide bid in 2014 in a recent interview with The Daily Herald.

Last week, Walsh, one of the House GOP’s most outspoken and controversial conservatives, lost re-election to Democratic Rep.-elect Tammy Duckworth. Walsh had this to say to the suburban Chicago newspaper when asked about a gubernatorial bid in 2014:

“Am I going to do something? Oh gosh, I don’t know,” he said. “People approach me every day and ask, ‘Walsh, are you going to run for the governor? Are you going to run for Senate?’ I want to do my part to lead a movement to present a vision to this. I’d rather go down fighting. Democrats have ruined this state but they’ve been able to do it because the Republicans have allowed them to.”

Full story

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