Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 21, 2014

December 17, 2012

South Carolina: Haley to Appoint Scott to Fill DeMint Seat

South Carolina: Haley to Appoint Scott to Fill DeMint Seat

Haley is expected to choose Scott, above, to take DeMint's Senate seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley is set to appoint Republican Rep. Tim Scott to succeed Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., according to several news reports. The official announcement is expected to come at noon Monday.

Scott would immediately be up for re-election in 2014 to finish the rest of DeMint’s term, which expires in 2017.

DeMint announced plans to resign from Congress a week and a half ago to take the reigns of The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

December 14, 2012

Some Democrats Want to Talk Gun Control, but Many Don’t

Some Democrats Want to Talk Gun Control, but Many Dont

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel didn't make any mention of the gun control issue in his statement expressing sympathy for the victims of the tragedy in Connecticut. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats all over Washington issued statements Friday expressing sympathy and dismay over the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. But amid the sadness, grief and shock one thing was clear — most in the Democratic Party did not want to inject a discussion of gun control into the day.

Many Democrats blame gun control for Al Gore’s 2000 presidential loss and there has been an increasing reluctance over the past decade to push the issue to the forefront of American politics. In 2006, Democrats won a majority in Congress in part by winning in conservative areas with candidates who were proudly pro-gun rights.

President Barack Obama alluded to gun control in his statement Friday, calling for “meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of politics.” Full story

Massachusetts: Assessing the Would-Be Candidates for a Senate Special Election

Massachusetts: Assessing the Would Be Candidates for a Senate Special Election

Markey is among those interested in moving to the Senate if there is a vacancy to be filled. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 7:35 p.m. Dec. 15 | Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is set to be nominated as the next secretary of State, according to news reports Saturday evening.

It became clear in the wake of Susan Rice’s withdrawal from consideration on Thursday that Kerry was the leading contender for the position, touching off a theoretical chess game of speculation about who will fill his Senate seat.

If Kerry resigns to move to the State Department, Gov. Deval Patrick (D) will appoint a short-term successor to serve until a special election can take place. More on the politics of that after the jump, but first, here are the names being mentioned for a special election.

DEMOCRATS:

One plugged-in state Democratic operative laid out the different categories for possible Democratic candidates.

Group One — Current House Delegation 

A 2013 special election would essentially be a free run for any House member because he or she wouldn’t have to give up his or her current seat. Here are the names being floated around Boston on Friday morning. Also, if it is a Member of Congress who succeeds Kerry either by appointment or election, the same succession laws apply to that House seat as a Senate vacancy.

  • Rep. Edward J. Markey: “I heard that Markey is trying to clear the field. Good luck,” the operative said.
  • Rep. Michael E. Capuano: He ended up being the only member to run in the Senate special election that resulted from the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. He finished second in the primary and is viewed as almost certain to run again if there is a vacancy.
  • Rep. Stephen F. Lynch: He eyed running in the 2010 special election but opted against it.

Full story

December 13, 2012

Steve Israel Names 2014 DCCC Leadership

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel announced Thursday which members of his caucus will serve in the committee’s leadership for the 2014 midterm cycle.

In terms of geography and gender, it’s a mixed group. All members won re-election in 2012 by fairly safe margins.

“Building on House Democrats’ 2012 success, these outstanding members will lead the charge to pick up seats in 2014 and continue reversing the tea party wave,” the New York congressman said at a news conference at party headquarters.

The national chairs:

  • National chairman for candidate services: Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado
  • National finance chairman: Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz of Pennsylvania
  • DC finance chairman: Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Rep. Joseph Crowley of New York
  • National mobilization chairman: Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn of South Carolina

Full story

December 12, 2012

Illinois: Democrats to Endorse 2nd District Candidate

Chicago-area Democrats are scheduled on Saturday to slate a candidate in the special election for the open 2nd District seat.

Influential Thornton Township Committeeman Frank Zuccarelli will lead the committee to pick a favorite in a burgeoning field of Democrats.

But Zuccarelli’s favorite, state Sen. Donne Trotter, was recently charged with trying to bring a gun on a plane. Full story

DSCC Chairman Bennet Named to Finance Committee

DSCC Chairman Bennet Named to Finance Committee

Sen. Michael Bennet will serve on the Finance Committee in the 113th Congress. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., has landed a coveted seat on the Senate Finance Committee after agreeing to serve as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Denver Post is reporting.

Finance is one of the top committees a member can serve on. The panel has jurisdiction over most legislation that runs through the Senate, making it a plum spot from which to fundraise, including from the banking and financial industries. Those connections could serve Bennet well as he raises money for the DSCC in advance of the 2014 elections.

Leadership on both sides of the aisle often use top committee assignments such as Finance as an incentive for reluctant would-be chairmen to agree to run their party’s campaign committee. One recent example is Sen. Patty Murray, D- Wash., who was named to the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee in late 2010, soon after committing to run the DSCC.

GOP Poll: Republican Brand Tarnished Among Hispanics

In the wake of Mitt Romney’s historically poor performance among Hispanic voters, GOP pollster Whit Ayres delivered more sobering news for his party on just how damaged the Republican brand is among that community.

According to a poll Ayres conducted in four battleground states that have high Hispanic populations, Hispanic voters said the GOP does not respect the values and concerns of their community. The GOP’s favorable rating is upside down in each state and the respondents did not equate the GOP with issues that are at the bedrock of the party. Full story

December 11, 2012

South Carolina: Haley Considers Politics of Appointment

South Carolina: Haley Considers Politics of Appointment

South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley will appoint Sen. Jim DeMint's successor. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Gov. Nikki R. Haley’s 2014 re-election bid is expected to weigh heavily on whom she appoints to succeed Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican insiders told Roll Call Tuesday afternoon.

Haley is a rising star in national Republican circles and a tea party favorite. But at home, the first-term governor has struggled politically, fighting with Republicans in the Legislature and others in the party while enjoying lackluster support from independent voters. Haley appears safe from a primary challenge, but some polls have suggested that she could be vulnerable in the general election, despite the state’s strong conservative bent.

The Senate appointment could help Haley address some of these challenges, GOP operatives based in South Carolina and others with strong ties to the state said she is likely to take full advantage of the opportunity as she considers from a narrowed pool of five potential candidates. CNN first reported who was on the short list Tuesday, and each candidate carries strengths and weaknesses.

Rep. Trey Gowdy: Gowdy has tea party and conservative bona fides. He is not perceived to be personally close to Haley. Per one knowledgeable South Carolina-based GOP operative, Gowdy is the “unlikely choice for Haley, but for a future U.S. Senate race, a very good candidate.” Another source added that the Gowdy mention on the list might have as much to do with poking Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., as pushing Gowdy. Haley and Mulvaney have an adversarial relationship.

Full story

South Carolina: Haley Narrows Senate Appointment Pool to 5 Candidates

South Carolina: Haley Narrows Senate Appointment Pool to 5 Candidates

The shortlist for the Senate appointment in South Carolina includes freshmen GOP Reps. Trey Gowdy (left) and Tim Scott. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 1:27 p.m. | South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley has narrowed the candidate list to replace resigning Republican Sen. Jim DeMint to five candidates, according to CNN.

Speculation has centered on Rep. Tim Scott, but there are some other interesting names on her shortlist. Besides Scott, four more South Carolina Republicans are in the mix: Rep. Trey Gowdy, former state Attorney General Henry McMaster, former South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford, and state Department of Health and Environmental Control Director Catherine B. Templeton.

As CNN notes, one notable name omitted from the list is freshman Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney.

“As has always been our policy, we do not comment on any aspect of an appointment process until the appointment is finalized,” Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey wrote in an email.

Haley announced on Monday she would not be appointing a caretaker for the job. Her pick is expected to be made as early as this week.


GOP Outside Group Makes Issue Ad Buy on Fiscal Cliff

The GOP-aligned American Action Network has launched an online advertising campaign urging Beltway policy insiders to support congressional Republicans during the fiscal cliff debate.

The online digital campaign includes Web videos and search, mobile and display ads. The money behind the buy is in the tens of thousands of dollars. The group’s newest Web video features economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who is associated with AAN’s sister organization, American Action Forum.

Holtz-Eakin is a former Congressional Budget Office director and was a top domestic adviser to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during his 2008 presidential campaign.

Updated 11:29 a.m. | Crossroads GPS is making an effort on this front as well, with a $240,000 local radio ad buy targeting five Democratic senators who are in races Roll Call rates as Tossups.

Those radio spots are airing in target=”_blank”>Alaska, targeting Sen. Mark Begich; target=”_blank”>Louisiana, targeting Sen. Mary L. Landrieu; target=”_blank”>North Carolina, targeting Sen. Kay Hagan; target=”_blank”>South Dakota, targeting Sen. Tim Johnson and West Virginia, targeting Sen. Jay Rockefeller.

December 10, 2012

RNC Announces Postelection Self-Examination

The political autopsies of 2012 are continuing more than a month after Republicans fell short in the race for the White House and lost ground in both the House and Senate.

The newest postmortem announcement came from Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. In a statement Monday, he announced a new “initiative to grow the Republican Party and improve future Republican campaigns.” It’s called the Growth and Opportunity project.

There will be five chairmen of the effort. They are:

  • Henry Barbour, a national committeeman from Mississippi
  • Sally Bradshaw, a veteran senior strategist in Florida and national politics
  • Ari Fleischer, the former White House press secretary
  • Zori Fonalledas, a national committeewoman from Puerto Rico
  • Glenn McCall, a national committeeman from South Carolina Full story

South Carolina: Haley Rejects Placeholder, Putting Focus Squarely on Scott

South Carolina: Haley Rejects Placeholder, Putting Focus Squarely on Scott

Haley could make her Senate pick known this week. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Gov. Nikki R. Haley of South Carolina has rejected the possibility that she will appoint a temporary caretaker to replace Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who is resigning effective in January.

“I do not want to tie the next U.S. Senator from South Carolina’s hands regarding future office,” she wrote in a statement Monday. “I do not want to deprive our state’s citizens of the chance to render their judgment on the appointee’s performance by way of their vote. Most importantly, while I am an avid supporter of term limits, I do not want the effectiveness of our state’s new U.S. Senator to be undermined by the fact that he or she will automatically be leaving the office such a very short time after assuming it.” Full story

NRCC Names Ryan Chairman of Annual Fundraising Dinner

NRCC Names Ryan Chairman of Annual Fundraising Dinner

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee announced Monday that Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin will chair its annual fundraising dinner in March.

Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee and the House Budget Committee chairman, will headline the dinner, which brought in more than $12 million this year. It’s the largest annual fundraiser for House Republicans.

Co-chairing the event will be GOP Reps. Diane Black of Tennessee and Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, as well as Rep.-elect Roger Williams of Texas, a former top fundraiser for President George W. Bush.

“This powerhouse team, lead by Paul Ryan, will provide the leadership needed to make this annual fundraising dinner a huge success,” incoming NRCC Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon said in a statement. “I’m proud to have Diane, Mike and Roger as co-chairs on the very important mission to secure funds to grow the Republican majority in 2014.”

December 8, 2012

Louisiana: Charles Boustany Jr. Cruises to Runoff Win Over Jeff Landry

Louisiana: Charles Boustany Jr. Cruises to Runoff Win Over Jeff Landry

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 10:30 p.m. | Louisiana Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. defeated freshman Rep. Jeff Landry in Saturday’s GOP member-vs.-member runoff in the bayou forced by redistricting. The four-term lawmaker’s victory marks the last House race of 2012 to be decided.

Boustany had 61 percent to Landry’s 39 percent, with 87 percent of precincts reporting.

A GOP-controlled redistricting process placed both members into the same southern Louisiana 3rd District. But Boustany always had the edge: The new district was composed of about three-quarters of his old turf. That meant Landry had to both introduce himself to the majority of voters and convince them that he was a better choice than Boustany. Full story

December 7, 2012

Haley Will Not Run for Senate in 2014

South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki R. Haley will not be a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat this cycle. “The governor will not run for the Senate in 2014,” spokesman Rob Godfrey told CQ Roll Call. “She absolutely loves the job she has.”

Sen. Jim DeMint announced Thursday that he would resign his seat in January, leaving Haley to pick a replacement to will serve through the 113th Congress. A special election will be held in November 2014 to fill the remainder of DeMint’s term, which ends in January 2017.

Palmetto State GOP operatives had floated the idea the first-term chief executive might run for the seat after appointing a placeholder candidate who would not run in the special.

The conventional wisdom among GOP operatives in the state remains that the top contender for the seat is conservative freshman Rep. Tim Scott.

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