Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 29, 2015

April 4, 2013

Louisiana: Fleming Opts Out of Senate Race

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GOP Rep. John Fleming announced  Thursday he would not join the Louisiana Senate race, saying his entrance into the contest could thwart a GOP pickup of the Democratic-held seat.

Fleming said he decided to opt out of the race after fellow Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy announced Wednesday that he would be challenging vulnerable Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu.

“For me to enter the race now would risk a contest between two experienced Republican Congressmen, potentially offering Senator Landrieu a path back to Washington,” Fleming said in a statement. “I can’t let that happen.”

Fleming’s announcement is a shift from his tune earlier in the week, when he said “I haven’t ruled anything out.” Full story

NRSC to GOP Consultants: Got Any Better Ideas?

Want a lucrative consulting contract from the National Republican Senatorial Committee or one of their top candidates this cycle? First, a few questions.

After tensions between GOP officials and consultants bubbled over in 2012, top NRSC aides are in the process of revamping their relationship with the hired hands who might work with their spending arm and candidates this cycle.

On Tuesday, NRSC Political Director Ward Baker sent the following memo to more than 250 GOP consultants and vendors:

TO: Prospective Vendors

FROM: Ward Baker

DATE: April 2, 2013

RE: NRSC IE Program Revitalization

Victory in 2014

The NRSC is full steam ahead prepping and planning for victory in 2014 to take back the majority in the U.S. Senate. Part of that preparation is revitalizing and reimagining the IE program to ensure wins in crucial battleground states. We believe this can be accomplished through new ideas and innovative strategies from not only the new leadership at the NRSC, but from you as well.

Full story

DCCC Raised $3.2 Million at Obama Fundraiser

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $3.25 million Wednesday evening at fundraising events President Barack Obama headlined in San Francisco.

It was the first of eight DCCC fundraisers the president has committed to in the 2014 cycle. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., attended the events — cocktails at one home and then dinner at another — and Obama stressed the importance of returning her to the House speaker position.

“I am here because there are very few people in public office who I am more fond of and respectful than the person who just introduced me, Nancy Pelosi,” Obama said in his remarks.  “She is thoughtful, she’s visionary, she’s as tough as nails. She is practical. She never lets ideology cloud her judgment.”

DCCC Chairman Steve Israel of New York was also in attendance, along with California Democratic Reps. Michael M. Honda, Jared Huffman and Eric Swalwell.

The president noted that Israel “is doing an often thankless, extraordinarily difficult job.” At the end of February, the DCCC had $7.6 million in the bank compared to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s $4.4 million cash on hand.

Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.

Shop Talk: Carville Joins Draft-Hillary Super PAC

Hillary Rodham Clinton

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 9:34 a.m. | The Ready for Hillary super PAC will announce on Thursday that Democratic strategist James Carville has joined its efforts, CQ Roll Call has confirmed.

Carville is the highest-profile Clinton loyalist to join the group, which aims to build a campaign infrastructure for former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton if she decides to run for president in 2016.

(See Shop Talk’s rundown of other Ready for Hillary hires here and here.)

Ready for Hillary is not directly affiliated with Clinton. Carville worked on President Bill Clinton’s campaigns for the White House.

The Washington Post first reported the Carville news early Thursday morning.

Update 9:34 a.m. 

Carville clarified his role to Politico. He said that he would not be “directly affiliated” with the group but is enthusiastic to help any organization that supports Clinton. Carville frequently lets groups like the campaign committees use his name in fundraising emails. A source at the PAC had previously confirmed the entire content of the Washington Post report to CQ Roll Call.

Massachusetts: Clark Hauls In $260,000 for 5th District Race

Democratic state Sen. Katherine Clark raised $261,000 in her first quarter as a candidate for the 5th District, according to an email she planned to send supporters Thursday.

Clark is part of an evolving field ready to run for the heavily Democratic 5th District if its current occupant, Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey, wins the upcoming special election for Senate.

Public polls show Markey leads his Democratic and Republican opponents in the race to succeed now-Secretary of State John Kerry in the Senate. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch is also running for the Democratic nomination.

(See also on Roll Call: “Markey Leads in Another Special Election Poll”) Full story

April 3, 2013

West Virginia: Capito Raises $915,000 for Senate Bid

Capito is running for Senate in West Virginia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., has kicked off her Senate campaign with strong fundraising, bringing in $915,000 in her first full quarter as a statewide candidate.

Capito will report having $2.35 million in cash on hand, according to her consultant John Brabender.

Capito is running to replace Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who will retire in 2014. The Mountain State’s open-seat race  is expected to be one of this cycle’s most targeted. Senate Republicans must net six seats to win the majority in 2014.

Full story

New Mexico: Democrat Considering Challenge to Pearce

Pearce might get a challenge this cycle from a former state representative. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats already hold four of New Mexico’s five federal offices, but the party hopes to make a clean sweep by 2014.

Former state Rep. Joe Campos is considering a challenge to Rep. Steve Pearce, the only Republican in the state’s congressional delegation, who is two terms into his second stint in Congress after losing a Senate bid in 2008.

“We’re taking a look at it, but we haven’t confirmed anything yet,” Campos said in a phone interview. “We’re just looking at it, and I would say by the end of the month we will tie everything up and see if it’s doable.” Full story

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 11:48 a.m.

Louisiana: Cassidy Blasts Obama, Landrieu as He Officially Enters Senate Race

Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy made his bid for Louisiana’s Senate seat official on Wednesday morning, releasing a video announcement that serves as both a primer on Cassidy’s personal story as well as an attack on his opponent, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La.

Seated alongside his wife Laura, a breast cancer surgeon, Cassidy seeks to defend his conservative record in the announcement spot, and highlight Landrieu’s support of President Barack Obama’s policies, including Obama’s 2009 health care overhaul, which remains deeply unpopular in the state.

“As a family, we have decided that I will run for the United States Senate in the election held November 2014 and it’s going to be a tough race,” Cassidy says in the announcement video. “I’m running against Senator Mary Landrieu who’s been there for 18 years and against the most powerful man in the world, Barack Obama.” Full story

April 2, 2013

South Carolina: Sanford Wins GOP Nomination for Special

Sanford is running for Congress in the 1st District. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Gov. Mark Sanford won the GOP nomination in the special election, setting up a general election fight with Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

Sanford defeated attorney Curtis Bostic, 55 percent to 45 percent, in the GOP runoff, with 67 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

The 1st District is a strong Republican seat, but Sanford is not assured a general election win.

It is unclear how difficult the path ahead will be for Sanford in the general election. Some South Carolina Republicans insist that this is a solidly conservative district and that the idea of a Democratic winner is unfathomable.

But Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, has put together a professional campaign. She even released an internal poll Monday that showed she had a narrow lead over Sanford. (Our own Stuart Rothenberg offered a skeptical analysis.)

There is a special election because the district’s former congressman, Republican Tim Scott, was appointed to the Senate earlier this year. Gov. Nikki Haley picked Scott for the seat after then-Sen. Jim DeMint resigned from the Senate.

Michigan: Ronna Romney McDaniel Will Not Run for Senate

Ronna Romney McDaniel, niece of Mitt Romney, told the Detroit News on Tuesday that she will not seek the GOP nomination to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin.

Romney McDaniel considered the race last month after her father, Scott Romney, passed on a run.

But she cited family obligations as her ultimate reason not to run, telling the newspaper, “It’s not the right time to put my kids through something like that.”

Democrats have the advantage in the race for Levin’s seat given Michigan’s recent voting history. Potential Democratic candidates include Debbie Dingell, the wife of longtime Rep. John D. Dingell, and Reps. Gary Peters and Dan Kildee.

On the GOP side, Reps. Mike Rogers and Justin Amash, former GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis and former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land continue to mull runs.

Louisiana: Cassidy Challenging Landrieu

Rep. Bill Cassidy


Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy will challenge Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu in Louisiana, in what’s likely to be one of the most competitive races of 2014, CQ Roll Call has confirmed.

The Associated Pres reported Tuesday that Cassidy will officially announce his candidacy in a video to be released on Wednesday.

Cassidy has long been mentioned as a top potential contender to Landrieu, who is seeking a fourth term in a state President Barack Obama lost by 18 points in November. Cassidy had more than $2 million in the bank by the end of 2012, and his campaign announced Monday that he raised $500,000 in the first quarter. Full story

Illinois: Obama Endorses Robin Kelly in Special Election (Finally)

Kelly won the Democratic nomination in the 2nd District. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrat Robin Kelly picked up a high-profile, but largely inconsequential, endorsement Tuesday from President Barack Obama.

Kelly is all but assured to win her special-election bid to replace former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill., on April 9. This is a heavily Democratic district, and her GOP opponent, Paul McKinley, is a convicted felon.

“To continue moving America forward, I need partners in the House of Representatives like Robin Kelly,” Obama said in a press release from the Kelly campaign. “I have known Robin for many years and I am confident she is the perfect choice to represent the Illinois 2nd Congressional District.”

Kelly decisively won the Democratic primary in February. Gun control was the primary issue in the race, as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s super PAC spent more than $2 million to boost Kelly in the primary.

Obama’s Chicago home is only a few blocks from the 2nd District. The friendship between Kelly and Obama started when they served in the state legislature together.

California: Khanna Will Challenge Fellow Democrat Honda in Silicon Valley

Ro Khanna made his candidacy official Tuesday morning, setting up a highly competitive Democratic battle in California’s Silicon Valley.

The former Obama administration official is challenging six-term Democratic Rep. Michael M. Honda, who has spent the past few months rolling out big-name party endorsements and polling to discourage Khanna, 36, from running.

“I’m running for Congress because I believe Silicon Valley’s innovation and energy can cut through old-style Washington politics,” Khanna said in a video posted to his campaign website.

Honda, 71, was endorsed in January by President Barack Obama, but many of Obama’s top campaign operatives are now working for Khanna. Full story

Pennsylvania: Leach Announces Candidacy for Schwartz’s Seat

State Sen. Daylin Leach launched his campaign Tuesday for the seat being vacated by Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, who has indicated she will run for governor of Pennsylvania.

“For the last several weeks,” Leach, a Democrat, said in a statement, “I have been talking with voters, community leaders, elected officials, representatives from advocacy groups and progressive organizations, and many others from Philadelphia and Montgomery County, and found overwhelming support for my candidacy.”

There will likely be a crowded primary field for the open 13th District, a safe Democratic district based mostly north of Philadelphia. Leach is the third candidate to take formal steps to enter the race — although he is the first to formally announce a campaign.

Last month, Valerie A. Arkoosh, a medical professor at the University of Pennsylvania, filed paperwork for her candidacy. Former Philadelphia City Controller Jonathan Saidel followed with his own paperwork to run at the end of March. Full story

Shop Talk: Senate Majority PAC Hires Matsdorf, Brockman

Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC dedicated to electing Democrats to the Senate, announced Wednesday the hiring of two new staffers:

  • Karyn Brockman will be the super PAC’s finance director. Most recently, she worked on now-Sen. Christopher S. Murphy’s, D-Conn., 2012 Senate campaign.
  • Ty Matsdorf has signed on as campaigns and communications director. CQ Roll Call profiled Matsdorf as a Hill aide in 2009, when he was a communications director to Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. More recently, Matsdorf ran the war room for American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic opposition research super PAC. He will continue with his other job at the newly formed Messina Group while working with Senate Majority PAC.

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