Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 2, 2014

October 10, 2012

Arizona: NRSC IE Poll Shows Jeff Flake Ahead

Arizona: NRSC IE Poll Shows Jeff Flake Ahead

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A second Republican poll today showed Rep. Jeff Flake (R) leading former surgeon general Richard Carmona (D) in the open-seat Senate race in Arizona.

Flake takes 47 percent to Carmona’s 41 percent, with undecided voters accounting for 12 percent in the survey paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s independent expenditure unit.

The survey marks the second GOP poll and third internal poll released today. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released a survey showing Carmona with a 4-point lead. But Flake’s own campaign polling gave him a 6-point lead in surveys taken the same days, Oct. 7-9.

Regardless, the dueling numbers are a sign of an increasingly competitive race. Roll Call rates this race as Leans Republican.

In the NRSC’s IE poll, respondents reported a more favorable impression of Flake. Forty-five percent deemed Flake favorable, while  36 perent gave Carmona a favorable rating.

GS Strategy Group conducted the poll of 500 likely voters Oct. 8-9. The margin of error is about 4.4 points, according to the polling memo obtained by Roll Call.

New York: NRCC Cancels Buy After IE Group Moves In

New York: NRCC Cancels Buy After IE Group Moves In

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The independent expenditure arm of the National Republican Congressional Committee has canceled three weeks of television in the Buffalo media market that would have been aimed at vulnerable Rep. Kathy Hochul (D) after the GOP-aligned American Action Network came into the district with $600,000 worth of television time from Oct. 12 through Election Day.

The NRCC has canceled time from Oct. 16 to Nov. 6 worth about $375,000.

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DCCC Cancels Three Big City Buys: Philly, Boston and Chicago

House Democrats cut more than $1 million in television time in the Philadelphia market today in addition to eliminating major reservations in Boston and Chicago, according to a Democrat who tracks media buys.

The Philadelphia cancellation for Oct. 25-29 isn’t good news for two Democratic challengers running in districts covered by that pricey television market: Pennsylvania’s 8th district and New Jersey’s 3rd district.

The elimination comes just a week after the National Republican Congressional Committee cut its big buy in the Philadelphia market, too. It’s a sign these House races aren’t as competitive as party officials anticipate (Roll Call rates both as Leans Republican).

DCCC officials countered that challengers to GOP Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick (Pa.) and Jon Runyan (N.J.) didn’t need the help.

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Virginia: NRSC Launches First IE Ad in Senate Race

The National Republican Senatorial Committee kicked off its independent expenditure spending in Virginia today by launching a television ad that criticizes former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) for supporting increased federal spending.

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EMILY’s List: Women Remain Key

Amid polls showing that women may be drifting away from President Barack Obama, EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock told reporters that women will still help Democrats prevail on Election Day, particularly in key Senate races.

“Women voters are going to vote for Democrats because they know what’s at stake,”  Schriock said in a conference call today. The Democratic women’s PAC has shattered its previous fundraising records and will spend more in this election cycle than at any point in its 27-year history, she said.

Schriock assailed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s record on women’s issues, called on Vice President Joseph Biden to challenge House Budget chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) on those issues in Thursday’s vice presidential debate and touted her PAC’s record 2012 spending on behalf of female Democrats.

Romney knows he needs women to win the election and has decided that “his best strategy for getting their votes is to lie to them,” Schriock said. She quoted Romney’s recent statement to the Des Moines Register that “there’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” Full story

Tennessee: Transcript Reveals Scott DesJarlais Urged Mistress to Have Abortion

Tennessee: Transcript Reveals Scott DesJarlais Urged Mistress to Have Abortion

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) was at work on Capitol Hill today despite the media firestorm that was unfolding around him.

According to parts of a transcript from a more-than-decade-old phone call published by the Huffington Post, DesJarlais, then a doctor, urged a pregnant mistress to get an abortion. The woman was a patient of the conservative anti-abortion doctor-turned-lawmaker.

“You told me you’d have an abortion, and now we’re getting too far along without one,” DesJarlais says at one point. He also suggests heading to Atlanta to “solve” the issue.

“Well, we’ve got to do something soon,” he says. “And you’ve even got to admit that because the clock is ticking right?” Full story

Colorado: Incumbents Scott Tipton, Mike Coffman Blast Challengers in New Ads

The airwaves in Colorado are ablaze with a duo of new ads in two competitive Congressional districts.

Democratic challenger Sal Pace is attacking a recent ad by Rep. Scott Tipton (R) as the two battle for their state’s 3rd Congressional district. And a new ad from the campaign of Rep. Mike Coffman (R) in the tossup race for Colorado’s 6th district calls statements from Democratic challenger Joe Miklosi’s camp “false” and “misleading.”

The Tipton ad says Pace supported “cutting Medicare by over $70 billion” and that the state lawmaker “cast the deciding vote to raise seniors’ property taxes by $90 million.” It concludes: “Hurting seniors, raising taxes. We can’t afford Sal Pace.” Full story

New York: Chris Gibson Leads in Polls, but Margin Varies

New York: Chris Gibson Leads in Polls, but Margin Varies

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.) recently led his Democratic challenger by a little or a lot, depending on which pollster did the asking.

A new poll commissioned for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee found Gibson leading Julian Schreibman 43 percent to 41 percent with 16 percent of those likely voters surveyed undecided. The president led Mitt Romney by 7 points in the poll conducted by Democratic firm Grove Insight.

But a new poll commissioned for the independent expenditure arm of the National Republican Congressional Committee and obtained by Roll Call found Gibson leading Schreibman 47 percent to 39 percent, with 16 percent of those likely voters surveyed undecided. The president led Romney by 3 points in the poll conducted by Republican firm On Message Inc.

The breakdown of those surveyed in the Republican poll: 36 percent Republican, 36 percent Democratic and 25 percent other. The breakdown of those surveyed in the Democratic poll: 32 percent Democratic; 35 percent Republican; 33 percent other.

In 2008, the president would have beaten Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) by about 8 points in the district.

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Ohio: GOP Poll Gives Bill Johnson 8-Point Lead

Ohio: GOP Poll Gives Bill Johnson 8 Point Lead

A GOP poll showed Rep. Bill Johnson will an 8-point lead. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Bill Johnson (R) led former Rep. Charlie Wilson (D) by 8 points in their rematch of the 2010 race, according to a GOP survey released today.

Johnson had 47 percent and Wilson had 39 percent in the survey paid for jointly by the freshman lawmaker and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The results counter Wilson’s own mid-September polling that showed a tied race. Roll Call rates this race as Leans Republican.

The 6th district race has become one of the most competitive House races in Ohio, next to the Member-vs.-Member race in the 16th district. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee dedicated additional resources to the 6th district race two weeks ago. Full story

Daily Ad Track

Sen. Claire McCaskill’s Senate campaign went nuclear on Rep. Todd Akin (R) this morning, targeting his comments on “legitimate rape” that turned a sure loss for the Democrat into a likely win.

McCaskill’s strategy had been widely expected ever since Akin declined to drop his Senate bid in the wake of his politically damaging comments.

The McCaskill campaign released three new ads on their website along with contribution tabs involving testimonials from survivors of sexual assault. While the National Republican Senatorial Committee has not committed funds to this race, it did wade into Missouri waters on Tuesday.

Texas State Senate 

On Tuesday we highlighted a House ad that featured a rape survivor. There is some reluctance given the seriousness of the topic at hand to call this a trend, but it is even surfacing in some downballot races. Dallas affiliate WFAA flagged an ad being run in a Texas state Senate race by incumbent Sen. Wendy Davis (D).  Given the sensitivity of the subject matter, is there a point where such ads could backfire?

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Missouri: Claire McCaskill Releases Ads Featuring Sexual Assault Survivors

In a move that seemed inevitable, the campaign of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) has now released a series of TV ads featuring survivors of sexual assault criticizing GOP challenger Rep. Todd Akin’s views on emergency contraception.

Two of the spots feature women who identify themselves as personally against abortion. One of them, identified as “Diana,” also identifies herself as a Republican.

“In the hospital, I was offered emergency contraception. Because of my personal beliefs, I declined. Here’s what else I believe: No woman should be denied that choice,” she said. ”I’ve never voted for Claire McCaskill, but because of Todd Akin, I will now.”

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October 9, 2012

Missouri: NRSC Blasts Claire McCaskill Without Mentioning Todd Akin

Missouri: NRSC Blasts Claire McCaskill Without Mentioning Todd Akin

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 8:38 p.m. | The National Republican Senatorial Committee criticized Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) today after a report found companies connected to her family received almost $40 million from the federal government.

NRSC Executive Director Rob Jesmer weighed in with the first lengthy criticism of McCaskill from the national party structure since NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) effectively called the race a bad investment in an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal.

“Sen. McCaskill should apologize to the people of Missouri who sent her to Washington to rein in the size of the federal government, not to max out the government credit card and then get richer off of it,” Jesmer said. “This is just the latest in a long line of broken promises to Missourians and hypocritical conduct in Washington by Claire McCaskill.”Missouri: NRSC Blasts Claire McCaskill Without Mentioning Todd Akin

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Rand Paul to Expand Foreign Aid Push Into Ohio; Lindsey Graham Defends Joe Manchin

Criticism from within his own party will be no deterrent in Sen. Rand Paul’s advertising campaign against Democrats over foreign aid spending.

In a brief interview today, the Kentucky Republican said his political action committee, RANDPAC, will announce plans Wednesday to hit the airwaves in Ohio against Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Paul said he will not have a specific “litmus test” in deciding which lawmakers to oppose, but they will be in races where the Republican challenger has expressed support for curbing foreign aid, as is the case with GOP nominee Josh Mandel in the Buckeye State.

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Mitt Romney’s Polling Surge Continues

Mitt Romney’s Polling Surge Continues

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigned last month in Virginia. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A cascade of poll numbers confirms Mitt Romney’s big bounce after Wednesday’s debate with President Barack Obama, putting him ahead in several national and state polls and closing the gaps in swing states where he had trailed.

However, there are signs that Friday’s surprising September jobs report may help Obama stanch the bleeding.

Gallup, which unveiled its seven-day likely voter tracker for the first time today, showed Romney with a 49 percent to 47 percent advantage, while Obama led 49 percent to 46 percent among registered voters. This and other recently released polls confirmed an enthusiasm gap that favors the GOP. Gallup did have one bright spot for Obama: Its three-day job approval for the president hit a recent high of 53 percent among “all adults,” possibly aided by Friday’s unexpectedly low 7.8 percent unemployment rate.

Still, polling generally continues to show a strong bounce for Romney, the Republican presidential nominee — most pronounced in Monday’s Pew poll that showed the former Massachusetts governor swinging to a 4-point lead from an 8-point deficit after the debate. Today, Romney led Obama nationally in the RealClearPolitics.com average for the first time in the 2012 campaign.

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Hawaii: Linda Lingle Invokes Elizabeth Edwards During Senate Debate

Hawaii: Linda Lingle Invokes Elizabeth Edwards During Senate Debate

Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle (above) accused Rep. Mazie Hirono of supporting John Edwards for president in 2008. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In their first televised debate Monday night, Hawaii Senate candidates former Gov. Linda Lingle (R) and Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) attacked each other for supporting failed presidential candidates of the past.

Hirono asked Lingle if she regretted statements she made while stumping for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) during the 2008 general election against President Barack Obama, a native son of Hawaii. Lingle responded by suggesting that Hirono and Democratic Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye supported others in the 2008 primary process.

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