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

October 25, 2012

Indiana: DSCC Ad Hits Richard Mourdock on Controversial Comments

Updated 6:18 p.m. | The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee today released a hard-hitting response ad to Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock’s controversial comment that pregnancies resulting from rape are “something that God intended to happen.”

The committee is spending $1.1 million to air the ad through Election Day.

The spot reminds viewers of the comment and also shows statements indicating that Republicans Mitt Romney and gubernatorial candidate Rep. Mike Pence distanced themselves from the remark.

But the toughest part of the ad is that it splices together Mourdock’s comments on rape with an older clip in which Mourdock says, “To me, the highlight of politics, frankly, is to inflict my opinion on someone else.”

Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.

Updated 6:18 p.m.

Mourdock’s campaign charged that Donnelly broke a rule that forbids the use of debate footage in television commercials. The footage is copywrited by the state’s debate commission, according to a Mourdock aide.

“Hoosiers are calling Joe Donnelly’s attacks sleazy, and it’s no wonder why,” Mourdock spokesman Brose McVey said. “Now Donnelly and his liberal Washington allies are attacking Richard Mourdock’s faith and beliefs.”

Shira Toeplitz contributed to this report. 

Wisconsin: Will Dueling 9/11 Ads Affect Senate Race?

Wisconsin: Will Dueling 9/11 Ads Affect Senate Race?

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson released an ad this week knocking his Democratic opponent over the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (Bill Clark CQ/Roll Call File Photo)

In a Senate race that has been defined by negative ads, where both candidates are more disliked by voters than they are liked, Wisconsin might be on the verge of discovering whether there is such a thing as too negative.

And in 2012, a cycle in which nastiness and pettiness has reigned supreme nationwide, that’s saying something.

The mudslinging in the Badger State reached a new level this week with the roll-out of dueling 9/11 ads, featuring former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) accusing Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) of being unpatriotic and Baldwin, in turn, accusing Thompson of profiting off of 9/11 victims. And while it remains to be seen whether Wisconsin voters will find the ads distasteful, it is clear they find their options on the ballot so. In the most recent Marquette University Law School poll, 50 percent of voters held an unfavorable view of Thompson and 47 percent of voters had an unfavorable view of Baldwin.

Thompson has told voters that Baldwin is “too extreme” for Wisconsin and Baldwin has said that “Tommy isn’t for us anymore.” The 9/11 ads, replete with images of charred buildings, American flags and ominous voice overs, are just an extension of what’s already out there, albeit one that some sources speculate could backfire on Thompson, who started the fight.

Full story

Missouri: McCaskill Camp Tries Closing the Deal

The campaign of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) is launching three new ads statewide today that feature comments by Missourians.

“We’ve been hearing a number of things that are pretty consistent no matter where we go and who we’re talking to across the state,” campaign manager Adrianne Marsh told reporters. ”And it’s related to things that are important to them, like veterans care and Medicare, Social Security, student loans, minimum wage — the very things themes that we’ve been talking about on this campaign since the beginning.”

Speaking on a conference call with reporters, Marsh said they encountered the individuals featured in the ads in a variety of venues across the state. Many of the individuals featured criticize the positions of GOP challenger Rep. Todd Akin. Several of the individuals featured are wearing St. Louis Cardinals apparel.

Full story

Daily Ad Track

Here’s what cut through the clutter today.

Connecticut Senate

If this cycle has proved anything, it’s that the best way to knock around one’s opponent without seeming outright sinister is to hire an actor and portray the opposition as an idiot. This new spot from former WWE CEO Linda McMahon takes the concept to a whole new level with its portrayal of Democratic rival Rep. Christopher Murphy.

Buzzfeed described it as “strange and amazing.” For us, it brought to mind one of the greatest movie endings ever:

Full story

Montana: Looking For an Edge in the Senate Race

Montana: Looking For an Edge in the Senate Race

Sen. Jon Tester (above) is in a tossup race with Rep. Denny Rehberg. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Montana Senate race is expected to be among the closest in the country, and both parties are looking for any edge possible.

Democrats hope to gain some traction with the release of an investigative report into the 2009 boat crash that injured Rep. Denny Rehberg (R), who is now challenging Sen. Jon Tester (D).

A district judge on Wednesday issued an order for the records to be released as early as today, as soon as the court’s clerk redacts the personal information of others involved in the crash. Former state Sen. Greg Barkus was convicted of criminal endangerment for driving the boat after a night of drinking, which ended with a crash on the shores of Flathead Lake that left all five on board injured. Full story

Indiana: John McCain, Barack Obama React to Richard Mourdock’s Controversial Remark

The political world has spent the last 40 hours or so issuing condemnations or statements of support for Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R), who made a controversial debate comment that pregnancies resulting from rape are “something that God intended to happen.”

Mourdock and national Republicans have his bid against Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) riding on how the story plays out. Democrats have resoundingly criticized Mourdock, and Republicans are split in their statements.

Democrats sent a flurry of press releases when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) considered withdrawing his support for Mourdock in a pre-taped CNN appearance on Wednesday night. McCain said his support for Mourdock was contingent on whether he “owned up” to the comments and that Mourdock needed to ask for forgiveness.

But this morning, a McCain spokesman explained that Mourdock still has the lawmaker’s support. Full story

Connecticut: NRCC Poll Shows Andrew Roraback Up Over Elizabeth Esty

Connecticut: NRCC Poll Shows Andrew Roraback Up Over Elizabeth Esty

Republican House candidate Andrew Roraback led Elizabeth Esty in a recent poll. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

State Sen. Andrew Roraback (R) led former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D) by 6 points in Connecticut’s 5th district, according to a National Republican Congressional Committee poll conducted earlier this week.

In a head-to-head matchup, Roraback had the support of 45 percent of respondents, while 39 percent backed Esty.

According to the poll, Esty’s favorability ratings are underwater. Thirty-two percent had a positive impression of her, while 36 percent said they held a negative view. Roraback was rated favorably by 44 percent, while 25 percent said they had an unfavorable view.

Full story

House Majority PAC Launches Three New Ads

The Democratic House Majority PAC will launch three new ads today, giving a final boost to two Democratic Congressmen and a candidate running in an open seat.

The first spot is in Illinois’ open 12th district, represented by retiring Democratic Rep. Jerry Costello. It highlights the contrast between the Republican nominee, businessman Jason Plummer, and the Democratic nominee, retired Maj. Gen. William Enyart. The ad, backed by $125,000 from today through Nov. 6 on broadcast television in the Paducah, Ky., media market, paints Plummer as someone who “praises” a plan that would “end Medicare.”

The second spot is in Massachusetts’ 6th district, where eight-term Democratic Rep. John Tierney faces an uphill battle against former state Sen. Richard Tisei (R). The ad attempts to tie Tisei to the tea party as well as the Medicare changes  in the budget of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The spot is backed by about $320,000 on broadcast television in the Boston media market over a week beginning today.

The third spot is in New York’s 1st district, where Rep. Tim Bishop (D) faces a rematch with businessman Randy Altschuler (R). The ad hammers on Altschuler’s outsourcing business. The spot begins today and is backed by $500,000 on targeted cable in the expensive New York City media market.

No Room for Error in Indiana Senate Contest

 

No Room for Error in Indiana Senate Contest

(Tom Strattman/Associated Press)

INDIANAPOLIS — By now, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock should know when to hold his tongue.

But the Republican Senate nominee, who’s been in Indiana politics for more than two decades, has a habit of speaking freely, frequently.

Many Hoosiers agree with his ideology, but Mourdock’s errors are political. As a result, less than two weeks before Election Day, Mourdock’s greatest hurdle to winning a Senate seat is himself.

“Richard doesn’t really believe in a filter,” said one Hoosier Republican and Mourdock ally, who declined to criticize the nominee on the record. “He is who he is and refuses to compromise for expediency.”

On Tuesday evening, Mourdock described pregnancy that results from rape as “something that God intended to happen” in response to an open-ended question on abortion. He delivered a tearful apology the next day to those who misunderstood his comments, which he described as not “articulate.”

The comments sent the Indiana race into turmoil two weeks before Election Day, just as Mourdock regained his footing against Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) following a rocky September for Republicans nationwide.
Full story

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

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